How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace Filters?  

furnace filter change

Changing your furnace filters is one of the easiest ways to ensure your HVAC system equipment operates efficiently and properly. Changing your furnace filter is an often overlooked task that can damage and malfunction if forgotten for an extended time. While this may seem like an unnecessary chore, regularly replacing your filters can save you hassle and money spent on energy bills in the long run. 

Due to the demands that Washingtonians and Oregonians put on their furnaces during the cold winter months, regularly changing your furnace filter will keep your equipment running for years. Routine maintenance also helps you avoid costly malfunctions, breakdowns, or complete HVAC system replacements.

What Role Do Furnace Filters Play in Performance?

Most homeowners believe that a furnace filter maintains air quality standards and decreases airborne contaminants from circulating in their homes. While this is one job that furnace filters perform, their primary role is to keep pollutants like dust mites, hair, pet dander, and other allergens from building up in your HVAC ducts.

Dust and dirt can clog your ducting systems, decreasing the performance of your air conditioning system and restricting airflow. If you believe your air ducts are dirty, you can schedule a professional HVAC unit inspection and cleaning to mitigate any potential problems that buildup may cause.

The number of people living in your home will affect your filter, and the greater the number, the more frequently you’ll need to replace your furnace filter. Also, furry pets can shed, which means your air conditioner filter will need more frequent replacements. Also, colder seasons will increase usage and require a new filter sooner than later. Maintaining a healthy filtration system will maximize the lifespan of your furnace and reward you with clean indoor air quality.

Develop a Regular Schedule for Replacing Your Furnace Filters

To ensure your furnace filter is being replaced properly, develop a regular schedule for replacing it. Many homeowners choose to replace their furnace filters on the first of the month, though you may need to increase that rate during higher-use months due to seasonal variables. 

Also, if you check your furnace filter, you can visually assess if it’s ready for a new filter replacement or if it can be used for longer. Furnace filters trap particulate smaller than everyday dust, pollutants, or smoke from cooking, and this will ensure that your furnace is protected from harmful buildup and works optimally.

Infographic showing when to replace furnace filters

How Does Furnace Size Effect Air Filter Replacement?

Refer to the list below for a quick guide on air filter size and replacement recommendations.

  • 1″ – 2″ air filters need replacing every 1-3 months depending on season and use
  • 3″ – 4″ air filters can last from 6 to 9 months before a replacement is needed
  • 5″ – 6″ air filters need replacing every 9 to 12 months

Thicker HVAC air filters last longer because they are designed for larger furnaces, more commonly found in commercial buildings. Most residential furnaces utilize one- to two-inch furnace filters, and replacements can be found in most general hardware stores. If you’re uncertain whether your air filter needs replacement, refer to your filter manufacturer’s recommendations or consult with a local HVAC professional.

If you don’t perform filter changes regularly, you can expose your furnace and ductwork to potential breakdowns, which can lead to costly repairs or, in the worst case, having to replace your entire furnace. Regular maintenance will ensure your heating system avoids malfunctions and breakdowns while performing efficiently and keeping your family warm and comfortable.

Contact Air Pro for your Furnace Repair Needs

Air Pro Heating & Cooling is Southern Washington and Northern Oregon’s trusted leader for furnace installation, repair, and service. With over 20 years of experience, we understand the unique regional demands on furnaces and cooling systems in our service areas. Talk to one of our experienced team members today to find a solution to any HVAC issues you may have.

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