How often should I change my air filter at home?

change air filter

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

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

For common 1"–3" air filters, companies normally ask you to replace them every 30–90 days. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could use a better air filter or replace them even more frequently.

The shortest answer to "how frequently do I need to swap the air filter?":

If there isn't a smoker or pets in your 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 switching it.

What air filter brands survive longer?

Some air filters are designed to survive up to six months, while others have to be switched each month. The thicker the air filter, the longer it should last. In most cases, you should examine the thickness of the filter versus the brand. You also need to consider at the MERV Rating.

The MERV Rating is a scale that stretches from 1-20 and calculates how well an air filter will pull particles out of the air. The better the MERV Rating, the smaller the particle that can be captured by your air filter.

While a filter with a higher MERV Rating should last longer, it could also interfere with the ventilation in your home. And you will have to switch out the filter more regularly. And if you acquire an older system, plan to substitute the filter more often to extend the life of your filter.

How regularly should I substitute my air filter based on thickness?

The lifespan of an air filter also relies on the thickness. A 1" filter will have to be changed out more frequently than a 4" filter.

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

One of the benefits of denser filters is not only do they last longer, but they also provide a higher MERV Rating. This means they can do a better job of filtering out the particles within your home. They also generate less air resistance, which can help your HVAC system operate more effectively and decrease wear and tear on components such as the blower motor.

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

How regularly should I exchange my air filter if I want a dog or cat?

If you have pets, you might need to change out your air filter more regularly. Pet hair and dander can quickly clog an air filter and limit its effectiveness. For every shedding dog you own, expect to switch out the filter a month earlier than you would in a home lacking pets. The same goes for cats, although they usually do not shed as much as dogs. If you own a hypoallergenic or non-shedding dog or cat, you might not have to replace your air filter as much.

Even though it's a good rule of thumb, you might want to check on the air filter more frequently to see if it should be replaced. Dogs don't 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 may help you learn how regularly you should install a new air filter at your residence:

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