How Often Should You Change a Furnace Filter

how often should you change a furnace filter

Replacing your home's furnace will cost somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000 on average. It's why you should do everything in your power to get as much life as you can out of it.

You can increase the lifespan of your furnace by having it serviced by an HVAC professional every year. You can also do it by making repairs to your furnace at the first sign of trouble. But replacing your furnace filter on a regular basis might be the easiest way to make your furnace last longer.

How often should you change a furnace filter? That's a question that people often ask when they move into their first home and start learning how to maintain it.

The answer is: It all depends! Here are some of the factors that can influence how often you need to replace your furnace filter.


How Thick is Your Furnace Filter?

Do you use a furnace filter that's only about an inch thick—or do you rely on one that's five inches thick to filter the air in your home? The thickness of your furnace filter will play a big role in how often you have to replace it.

Generally speaking, furnace filters that are one or two inches thick should be replaced about once every three months. Furnace filters that are four inches thick, meanwhile, should be replaced about once every six months. And furnace filters that are five inches thick should be replaced about once every 12 months.

If you're routinely tossing thicker furnace filters into the trash at the three-month mark, it's not the end of the world. But you might be getting rid of it too soon and costing yourself money in the process.

It's a good idea to adhere to the schedule we laid out if you happen to have a thicker furnace filter in your home.


How Often Do You Use Your Heating and Cooling System?

Are you almost always running either the furnace or the air conditioner in your home? If so, it's going to be important for you to keep tabs on your furnace filter.

Even if you have a thicker furnace filter in your home, you're going to need to replace it early and often. The more you use your heating and cooling system, the more you're going to need to invest in furnace filters.

If, on the other hand, you live in a place that rarely requires you to run your heating and cooling system, you might be able to get away with replacing your furnace filter a lot less often than HVAC professionals would recommend to the average homeowner.

In fact, you might be able to go for well over a year without replacing a furnace filter if you barely ever use your furnace or air conditioner. You won't need to ask the question, "How often should you change a furnace filter?" very much.


How Dusty is Your Home?

The average American home accumulates about 40 pounds of dust each year. That dust can have a huge impact on a home's indoor air quality and make people sick if it's not filtered out of the air.

Go and take a look at the air return grille in your home. Is it covered with dust? This is a surefire sign that you have a home that's very dusty, even if you do your absolute best to keep it clean.

Those with dusty homes need to make sure they replace their furnace filters more often than those who live in homes without a lot of dust in them. The last thing you want to do is allow dust to build up on your furnace filter and cut down on the overall efficiency of your heating and cooling system.


How Many Pets Do You Have Living in Your House?

Do you have three dogs and two cats running around inside your home at all times? Then you probably have plenty of pet dander circulating throughout your house at the moment.

Pet dander is made up of very tiny pieces of skin that fall off dogs and cats as well as rodents, birds, and certain other types of animals. It can trigger allergic reactions in some people and cause all kinds of health complications.

A furnace filter can remove pet dander from the air in your home. But it can't do it if it's clogged up with pet dander that it has filtered out of your home in the past. You'll need to replace your furnace almost monthly depending on how many pets you have living under your roof. 


How Many People in Your Home Suffer From Allergies?

Allergies take a toll on a sizable percentage of the U.S. population every year. In fact, upwards of 50 million Americans suffer from some kind of allergies.

Do you have anyone living in your home who battles allergies? It's going to be essential for you to replace your furnace filter before they begin to have allergic reactions due to poor indoor air quality.

If you notice that someone in your home seems to be struggling with allergies more than usual, your furnace filter could be to blame. You'll want to start replacing it more often than you do now to stop allergies from affecting them.

You should also look into buying furnace filters that are specifically designed to help allergy sufferers breathe easier.


How Often Should You Change a Furnace Filter? Only You Can Decide

There is no easy answer to the question, "How often should you change a furnace filter?" It depends on all of the factors that we just mentioned.

Keep these factors in mind when you're trying to decide how often you want to replace your furnace filter. By replacing your furnace filters a little bit more often than you do now, you'll see a big improvement in your home's indoor air quality.

Want to learn about some of the other ways to maintain an HVAC system? Check out our blog to find articles on heating and cooling a home or business in the Real Estate section of our site.

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Guest Posts, & Blog Outreach Services