When it comes to ensuring that your home’s indoor air quality stays clean and fresh, one of the most important steps you can take is to regularly change your furnace filter. A clean air filter is essential for ensuring that your heating and cooling system effectively traps airborne contaminants and allergens from within your indoor air, and it can also help improve the efficiency and longevity of your HVAC equipment.
However, most homeowners aren’t completely sure about how often to change furnace filters and what factors can affect how often you need to change your furnace filter. In this blog, we’ll explore these topics in-depth and provide you with the information you need to keep your home’s indoor air quality in top shape.
Why You Need to Change Your Furnace Filter
A furnace filter is a small but incredibly important component of any furnace system. The main function of a furnace filter is to clean the air that is circulated throughout your home. As air is sucked into your furnace, the filter captures the dirt, dust, and other particles that would otherwise be blown out into your living space. This has a number of benefits, such as improving overall indoor air quality, reducing allergens and other irritants, and helping to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
However, over time, your furnace filter will become clogged with all of the debris it has captured. This is why it’s essential to change your furnace filter on a regular basis. A clogged filter creates a blockage, restricting airflow through your furnace or air conditioner. Dirty filters cause your HVAC equipment to work harder and reduce efficiency, leading to excess energy consumption and higher energy bills.
Additionally, a dirty filter can contribute to indoor air pollution and damage your HVAC system over time. By changing your furnace filter regularly, you’ll help ensure that your heating system remains efficient, reliable, and effective at keeping the air in your home clean and healthy.
How Often to Change Furnace Filter
So, how often should you be changing your furnace filter? The answer to this question can vary depending on a number of factors. Generally, it is recommended that you change your furnace filter every 1-3 months.
However, this may need to be adjusted depending on several factors, including:
Air Filter Type
There are several types of furnace filters available, including fiberglass furnace filters and pleated filters. You should consult with your HVAC professional to determine the best type of furnace filter for your system and the specific needs of your home.
- Fiberglass furnace filters are less expensive but may not be as effective at removing larger particles from the air. If you use a fiberglass furnace filter, clean furnace filters are usually needed about every month.
- Generally, pleated filters are more effective at removing pollutants from the air. The pleated design of these furnace filters provides more surface area to trap dust and other airborne particles, so you don’t need to change the furnace filter as often – new air filters are needed about every three to six months, depending on MERV ratings.
MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. The MERV rating of a furnace filter refers to its ability to capture small particles from the air. Higher MERV ratings mean the more effective the furnace filter is at removing these particles. MERV ratings do impact how often furnace filters need to be changed, along with the other factors discussed.
Generally, this is how long a filter lasts based on MERV ratings:
- MERV 1-4 furnace filters should be replaced once a month
- MERV 5-8 filters need to be changed roughly every 3 months
- MERV 9-11 filters require replacement every 6 months
- MERV 12-16 filters should be replaced about every 9 months
Pets in the Home
If you have pets in your home, you know pets shed fur often, so it’s likely that your furnace filter will need to be changed more frequently. Pet dander and pet hair can quickly accumulate in your home’s furnace filter, reducing its effectiveness and increasing the risk of allergens and other pollutants that worsen indoor air quality.
HVAC System Usage
The frequency you need to change your furnace filter can also depend on how frequently your HVAC system is being used. During times of extreme temperatures where are running your HVAC system frequently, your furnace filter may need to be changed more frequently as it will fill up faster due to heavier system use. When outdoor temperatures are mild and you’re not using your system as much, furnace filters tend to last longer between replacements.
Questions About Furnace Filters? We Can Help!
Changing your furnace filter regularly is an essential step in maintaining a clean and healthy indoor environment. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should be changing your furnace filter, the factors outlined above can help give you a general idea of what to expect. By working with your HVAC professional and staying on top of your furnace filter replacement schedule, you can ensure that your home’s heating and cooling system is functioning optimally and protecting your health and comfort.
Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric will help you understand the various types of furnace filters available on the market and provide you with expert advice on which ones will best suit your home and air quality needs. So, if you want to ensure that your furnace is operating at its peak performance and that your family is breathing clean and healthy indoor air, don’t hesitate to call Ravinia Plumbing today and schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable technicians.