How Often Should You Replace Your HVAC Filters?

June 14, 2024


How Often Should You Replace Your HVAC Filters?

Your heating and air conditioning system has one or more filters located inside air ducts. Those filters trap dirt, dust, pet hair and other contaminants to keep them from entering the HVAC system or getting spread through the house as air circulates.

If a filter is dirty and clogged with debris, the HVAC system can’t work as efficiently as it should. That can lead to high utility costs, a breakdown and expensive repair bills. This is why it’s important to inspect your air filters regularly and clean or replace them as needed.

When to Change Your HVAC Filters
HVAC filters typically need to be replaced or cleaned about every three months. This is only a general guideline. You might have to replace your filters more or less often.

If you have one or more pets, your air filters can quickly get clogged with hair and dander. You’ll need to change them often, especially if your pets shed a lot. If you live in a dry, dusty area or a city with pollution, or if you have an older HVAC system, you’ll need to replace your filters frequently. 

The ages and health of your family members and the number of occupants can influence your maintenance schedule. If you have a young child, a person with allergies or asthma, or a large family, you’ll have to replace your HVAC filters more frequently than the manufacturer recommends.

How often you use your house and HVAC system will determine how often the filters will need to be changed. You’ll have to replace the filters in your primary residence more often than the ones in a vacation home. In the winter and summer, when you use your HVAC system every day, you’ll have to replace the filters more frequently. 

The type of air filters you use is another important factor to consider. Fiberglass filters generally need to be replaced more often than pleated filters.

Use the Right Type of Filter
If you need to replace an HVAC filter, make sure that you’re using a new filter that’s appropriate for your system. Air filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) that rates how well they trap contaminants. A filter with a higher MERV rating can trap smaller particles than a filter with a lower rating.

Choosing a filter with a higher MERV rating isn’t always beneficial. Using a filter that’s not appropriate for your HVAC system can make it work less efficiently and reduce indoor air quality.

Inspect Your Filters Regularly
Replacing HVAC filters is a home maintenance task that’s critically important, easy to do and often overlooked. Check the condition of your air filters once a month. If you hold a filter up to a light source and light can’t pass through, it’s time to replace the filter. After you’ve lived in your house for a while, you’ll be able to figure out a replacement schedule that works for your home and your family.


Michael Kogler, REALTOR
Long & Foster Real Estate | Luxury Portfolio  International
37156 Rehoboth Ave., Ext.
Rehoboth Beach, DE. 19971
Cell: (302) 236-7648
Henlopen Sales & Rentals: 

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