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HVAC Tips: How often should you change the Air Filter for your Furnace?

Updated on January 13, 2012

Depending on the environment in which your furnace operates, most HVAC companies recommend all filters be changed at least twice a year. If your home is located in an area with a lot of dust or dirt, you may want to change them more often to prevent them from clogging up and diminishing the efficiency of your heating or air conditioning unit. However, there are other factors that will help you determine how often your air filters should be changed.

Consider the type of air filter you are using. The majority of homeowners use a standard one to three inch filter and manufacturers usually recommend they be changed between 30 and 60 days. This may be a good guideline, but if you suffer from severe allergies you might consider changing them more often. For cleaner air you can change them more frequently or choose a higher quality air filter or consider installing an air purification system.

pet hair in air ducts
pet hair in air ducts
dust mites
dust mites
Dirty Air Filter
Dirty Air Filter

If you have pets, the 30 to 60 day guideline may not be enough. Pet dander and pet hair can get into your air affecting its overall quality, not to mention clogging up your filters. Once you install a new filter, note on your calendar to check them after a month to see how much they have become clogged and determine if they need replaced.

How many people live in your home will also affect how often the filters will need replaced. The more people in the home the more frequently they will need changed. You should also consider the environment in which your home is located. If there is a lot of pollutants in the area, or heavy construction going on around your house, dirt and dust is going to be raised. This in itself can be a reason to change your air filters more often or use an air purification system.

However, not all heating and air conditioning units may require a filter change every month or so. As a basic rule of thumb, in a typical suburban residence, air filters should be changed every three months, unless a sudden increase in dirt and dust is suspected. If you have a dog or cat, the filters should be changed every 60 days and if you have more than one animal in the house, a filter change every month may be in order.

If you have a vacation home or a home with only one occupant and have no pets and no allergies, once every six to 12 months should be sufficient. The real issue isn't always about when to change your home heating and air conditioning filters, but remembering when to change them. If you are only going to need a new filter every six to 12 months, considering tying the filter change to the time change.

Changing Furnace Filters

It occurs in the spring and fall and if you change your filters when you adjust your clock, it’s easier to remember. You should also change the batteries in your smoke detectors at that time as well. Mark your personal calendar as another method of reminding yourself that your air filters need changed to improve the quality of your air as well as reducing the stress on your HVAC system.


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    • Better Yourself profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Yourself 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks saday - glad the hub was helpful!

    • profile image

      Fran Orlando 

      6 years ago

      Great advice! Changing HVAC filters is essential to the health of both the HVAC system and those in your home! It is also important to have your furnace and air conditioner serviced on a regular basis. You can learn more at

    • saday profile image


      6 years ago from India

      Changing air filters is a must to provide a hygienic ambience within the household. After reading this post I came to understand the importance of changing them regularly especially with my pets around. Thanks a lot for this post. :)

    • Better Yourself profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Yourself 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank You FiltersFastLLC for taking the time to read and comment!

    • Better Yourself profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Yourself 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      It is very common for people to forget but so important for the quality of air in the home and efficiency of the HVAC system. Thank You for reading and leaving a comment!

    • kenwrites profile image

      Ken Crawford 

      7 years ago from Yreka, California

      Great information on filter changing and when to do it. too often people forget this simple task. It keeps the air cleaner and keeps your HVAC system cleaner as well. Good hub


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