Although checking our furnace air filters isn’t often the first thing on our minds, it is something that is important to remember. Changing your filters often helps to keep the air in your home clean and free from dust and contaminants. Another reason to change them regularly is that dirty clogged filters cause the furnace to have to work harder and make it less efficient. Setting up simple reminders on your calendar can help you remember to change them out before they get too dirty.
So how often do you need to change filters? Several factors determine that decision, which we'll discuss below for some general guidelines. If none of the following apply to your home, a good rule of thumb is to change one-inch to two-inch filters every 3 months, four-inch filters should be changed bi-annually, and 5-inch filters annually.
Do you have animals?
Pets, especially of the furry variety, shed and cause your filters to clog up much more quickly. For one animal living in your home you should change out a 1”-2” filter every 2 months, a 4” filter every 4 months, and a 5” filter every 6 months. Of course the more animals you have, the faster the filters will become dirty. If you have multiple pets, change your filter monthly for a 1”-2” filter, 2 months for a 4” filter, and 4 months for a 5” filter.
Does anyone smoke in the house?
The lifespan of air filters decreases dramatically if you or someone in your house smokes. The more smokers you have, the shorter filters last. The life of air filters for smokers is about the same as the recommended lifespan if you have pets. One smoker in the house shortens the filter lifespan to 2 months for a 1”-2” filter, 4 months for a 4” filter, and 6 months for a 5” filter. If you have multiple smokers in the house then you should change them sooner; monthly for a 1”-2” filter, 2 months for a 4” filter, and 4 months for a 5” filter.
Do you keep your heater fan running?
If you always keep your heater or A/C fan running it will also affect how long your filters last. For homes that leave the fan running constantly, 1”-2” filters will need to be changed out monthly. If you only run it part of the time then 1”-2” filters only need to be changed out every 2 months. If the fan is never on then you are safe to leave the 1”-2” filters for 3 months. Depending on if the fan is on constantly, sometimes or never; 4” filters will need to be changed out every 2, 4, and 6 months, and 5” filters every 3, 6 and 12 months.
Do you keep your windows and doors open?
If you leave windows and doors open often, or if your home is drafty, this allows outside air to circulate through your home, and can add an additional layer of filth, allergens and dust to your filters. If windows and doors are left open often, then your 1”-2” filters should be replaced monthly, 4” filters every 2 months and 5” filters ever 3 months.
Is your home dusty?
Excessive dust in a home is one more factor that can shorten the lifespan of a filter. If your home has a lot of dust, change 1”-2” filters out monthly, 4” filters every 2 months and 5” filters every 3 months.
Keep in mind that the air inside a home affects the health of all who live in the home. Remember that the thicker the filter, the longer it lasts. Regularly changing the filters in your home can help keep the air you breath fresh and clean, and it also helps keep your furnace running as smoothly and efficiently.