How often should I change my air filter at home?

change air filter

How regularly you have to change the air filters might be on the following:

  • Air filter type
  • Total indoor air quality
  • Number of pets
  • Household size
  • Air pollution levels and construction nearby the residence
  • The MERV Rating

For basic 1"–3" air filters, companies usually tell you to replace them every 30–90 days. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you can use a better air filter or replace them even more regularly.

The short answer to "how frequently do I need to swap my air filter?":

If there isn't a smoker or pets in the home, and the filter is the often sold 1" filter with a MERV rating of 4, you should be able to wait up to 90 days prior to replacing it.

What air filter brands last longer?

Some air filters are manufactured to last up to six months, while others should be changed monthly. The larger the air filter, the longer it will last. In general, you need to look at the thickness of the filter instead of the brand. You also need to check at the MERV Rating.

The MERV Rating is a scale that stretches from 1-20 and measures how well an air filter can remove particles out of the air. The higher the MERV Rating, the smaller the particle that will be caught by the air filter.

While a filter with a higher MERV Rating should last longer, it could also impede the airflow in your home. And you will have to replace the filter more regularly. And if you own an older system, plan to exchange the filter more frequently to preserve the quality of your filter.

How regularly do I have to switch out my air filter based on thickness?

The lifespan of an air filter also counts on the thickness. A 1" filter will have to be exchanged more frequently instead of a 4" filter.

  • A 1" pleated air filter must be changed every 30-60 days.
  • A 2" pleated air filter must be exchanged every 90 days.
  • A 3” pleated air filter must be exchanged every 4 months.
  • A 4" pleated air filter ought to be changed out every 6 months.
  • A 5” or 6" pleated air filter must be changed out every 9-12 months.

One of the advantages of thicker filters is not only do they live longer, but they also have a higher MERV Rating. This means they can do a better job of filtering out the particles within your home. They also produce less air resistance, which can help an HVAC system work more effectively and cut down on wear and tear on components like the blower motor.

If you want a whole-home air purifier, you will also need to switch out the filters more frequently.

How regularly should I change my air filter if I own a dog or cat?

If you want pets, you might need to change out your air filter more frequently. Pet hair and dander can easily clog an air filter and reduce its effectiveness. For each shedding dog you have, expect to change out the filter a month earlier than you would for a home lacking pets. The same goes for cats, although they tend not to shed as heavily as dogs. If you want a hypoallergenic or non-shedding dog or cat, you might not have to replace your air filter as often.

Even though it's a good rule of thumb, you will need to examine your air filter more regularly to figure out if it needs to be swapped out. Dogs usually do not shed the same amount year-round. They shed more in the spring and fall when they are blowing their coat. Check the air filter each month and replace it when it appears clogged.

Here are averages that can help you know how frequently you should install a new air filter at your residence:

  • Vacation house or one occupant and no pets or allergies: every 6–12 months
  • Common suburban home without pets: every 90 days
  • One dog or cat: every 2 months
  • More than one pet or if somebody has allergies: 20–45 days
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