How Often Should You Replace Your Air Filter?

A 2-fold air filter should be changed every 3 months, while a 3-fold air filter should be changed every 120 days. A 4-fold air filter should be replaced every 6 months, and a 5- or 6-fold air filter should be changed every 9-12 months. Fiberglass air filters are more affordable but less efficient at capturing dust and particles from the air, and they usually need to be changed every 30 days or as recommended by the manufacturer. Pleated air filters should be replaced approximately once every three to six months. The frequency of air filter replacement depends on several important factors, such as your home, occupants, and location.

Ideally, you should change your air filter every three months; however, there are certain factors to consider when determining when to change an old filter. The simple answer is when it's dirty. In general, most household air filters need to be changed at least every 1 to 3 months. Larger pleated cartridge type household air filters (3 inches to 5 inches) can last up to 12 months between changes. A vacation home where you only live part-time, for example, will need far fewer filter changes than a large family home with many occupants.

A HEPA filter is extremely efficient, but it takes a significant amount of air pressure to force air through a HEPA filter. In smaller homes, the air conditioning system has to move less air, which may mean replacing air filters less frequently. There is a small chance that a dirty air filter will allow dirt and small pieces of debris to enter the engine. When you buy a new air filter, check the manufacturer's recommendations for a basic idea of how often you should change it. Replace the air filter to restore airflow, improve heating and cooling efficiency, and increase air quality throughout the house. The easiest way to find an air filter that's right for your home is to locate the filter that's already installed.

Replacing the air filters in your air conditioning system is an essential practice that ensures that clean air circulates throughout your home. The only way to be sure how often your air filter should be changed is to visually inspect the filter every month. The HVAC air filter helps keep indoor air clean by trapping particles of mold, pollen, and other contaminants that move through the system. As a general rule, most average drivers should be able to go a year or two before needing a new air filter. However, many homeowners are unaware of how often air filters need to be replaced, making their system vulnerable to damage.

If you've never changed an air filter, you might not notice these common signs that it needs to be changed.

Michael Morton
Michael Morton

Devoted internet maven. Hipster-friendly web practitioner. Avid pop culture nerd. Lifelong music lover. Avid pop culture specialist.

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