How often should I change my air filter at home?

change air filter

How regularly you should replace the air filters might be on the following:

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

For standard 1"–3" air filters, manufacturers usually tell you to change them every 30–90 days. If someone in your family suffers from mild to moderate allergies, you could use a better air filter or exchange them even more regularly.

The shortest answer to "how often should I swap my air filter?":

If you don't have a smoker or pets at home, and the filter is the commonly sold 1" filter with a MERV rating of 4, you should be able to wait up to 90 days before replacing it.

What air filter brands survive longer?

Many air filters are designed to last up to six months, while others have to be swapped month-to-month. The denser the air filter, the longer it will last. Overall, you should look at the thickness of the filter versus the brand. You also need to consider at the MERV Rating.

The MERV Rating is a scale that records from 1-20 and assesses how effectively an air filter can pull particles out of the air. The bigger the MERV Rating, the smaller the particle that could be captured by the air filter.

While a filter with a higher MERV Rating will last longer, it might also restrict the flow of air in your home. And you will have to change the filter more regularly. And if you acquire an older piece of equipment, plan to substitute the filter more frequently to extend the life of your filter.

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

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

  • A 1" pleated air filter should be exchanged every 30-60 days.
  • A 2" pleated air filter should be replaced every 90 days.
  • A 3” pleated air filter ought to be replaced every 120 days.
  • A 4" pleated air filter should be changed out every 6 months.
  • A 5” or 6" pleated air filter should be swapped every 9-12 months.

One of the perks of thicker filters is not only do they survive longer, but they also boast a higher MERV Rating. This means they can do a superior job of eliminating the particles inside your home. They also produce less air resistance, which can help an HVAC system operate more efficiently and cut down on strain on components including the blower motor.

If you own a whole-home air purifier, you will also need to replace the filters more frequently.

How regularly should I replace my air filter if I have a dog or cat?

If you want pets, you might have to change out your air filter more often. Pet hair and dander can easily clog an air filter and minimize its effectiveness. For each shedding dog you own, expect to replace the filter a month sooner than you would with a home without 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 need to switch out your air filter as often.

Although a good rule of thumb, you might want to check the air filter more frequently to decide if it needs to be exchanged. Dogs usually do not shed the same amount year-round. They shed more in the spring and fall when they are blowing their coat. Take a look at the air filter each month and change it when it looks clogged.

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

  • Vacation house or one occupant and no pets or allergies: every 6–12 months
  • Average suburban home without pets: every 3 months
  • A single dog or cat: every 60 days
  • More than one pet or if anyone has allergies: 20–45 days
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