Why are HVAC Filters Important & How Often Should I Replace Them?

Apr 19, 2023

HVAC filters are a critical component of a home’s heating and cooling system. This thin sheet of material is responsible for filtering dust, pollen, hair, and pet dander out of the air that circulates through your home. When an HVAC filter gets dirty, it can quickly negatively affect your home by decreasing air quality and making it more difficult for your HVAC system to regulate temperatures, which, in turn, increases your energy consumption. Fortunately, changing an HVAC filter is simple; nearly every homeowner can do it. The problem is that homeowners often forget or do not know how often changing a filter is required. Today, we will break down all the nitty gritty details of HVAC filter use and replacement. 

How to Tell Your HVAC Filter Needs to Be ChangedApollo Heating and Air technicians cleaning the filter

The fastest and easiest way to tell if your HVAC filter is due for a change is to pull it out and look at it. You will come across three stages by holding it up to a light. If you can see through it clearly, it is likely good for a couple more weeks. If it looks dirty, but the light is filtering through, you will need to change it within the week. However, if you can’t see through it at all, you should change it right then and there. 

If you don’t perform an HVAC filter replacement when it needs to be swapped, your HVAC system will suffer. The dirtier the filter gets, the fewer containments will be removed from the air, allowing dirt and debris to build up in your home and ductwork while damaging the proficiency of your home heating and cooling system drastically. 

Learn more about easy ways to cut your energy bill when using a home HVAC system.  

How Often Should You Replace HVAC Filters?

How often you should replace HVAC filters depends on your HVAC system model, the type of filters you use, and the unique characteristics of your home. 

The standard recommendation to replace HVAC filters is every 30 days. However, depending on the size and model of your HVAC system, that may vary from 30 to 90 days. To determine the proper timeline for your system, we recommend reviewing your owner’s manual for their recommended instructions or asking your HVAC installation specialist when they set up a new unit or come for scheduled maintenance. 

The type of HVAC filter you use will also drastically affect how often you need to replace your HVAC filter. For example, cheaper filters made with fiberglass filters tend to need to be replaced every 30 days, whereas high-end pleated filters can typically last up to 90 days. We want to note that it is critical to always use suitable size filters for your units. Putting in incorrect sizes will drastically decrease the efficiency of your unit and could cause a harmful and dangerous malfunction. 

Lastly, there are a few factors that can influence how long your HVAC filter will last. 

How Often do You Use Your HVAC SystemApollo Heating and Air technician changing HVAC filter

The filter only gets dirty as it is being used, so if you live in a mild climate where it is unnecessary to run your HVAC system every day or for just a few hours at a time, your filter will last longer than those who must run their HVAC all day every day. This can change by season as well. Here in the Tri-Cities, we typically have more mild springs and autumns, so filters will typically last longer in those months than in the dead of winter or summer when we have the heat or air-conditioning running most of the day. 

The Environment Where Your Home is Located

The air quality in your home will drastically affect how often you need to replace your filter. If you live next to a busy road or have a vast garden that produces a lot of pollen, you may have to replace your HVAC filter more often than those who do not. 

The Size of Your Home

Typically, the smaller your home, the longer your HVAC filter will last since your system requires less air for the same temperature standardization. So a condo or townhouse filter will likely last longer than a 4-bedroom house. However, the flip side of the coin is that these residences usually have smaller HVAC units and, consequently, smaller HVAC filters. If that is the case, you may end up with the same filter change frequency as a larger home.  

The Residents of Your HomeApollo Heating and Air technicians working on HVAC

Lastly, the residents of your home will play a substantial contributing factor in how often you must replace HVAC filters. For example, homeowners with furry pets will need to change their filters more often, especially during the shedding seasons. Additionally, suppose you have occupants in your home with allergies or asthma. In that case, you will want to maintain higher-quality air to create a better living environment for them with fewer triggers, so changing the filters more often is recommended. 

Schedule HVAC Maintenance with Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning

If you are in need of HVAC maintenance, our service team is available 24/7, providing factory-trained and certified HVAC technicians for troubleshooting, diagnostics, maintenance, repair, and replacement. Additionally, if you need training or assistance in changing your HVAC filters, please call us, and we will show you how during your annual maintenance check. To book your appointment, please complete our contact form.