How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?

One of the easiest ways to save some money is to look at your energy costs. Heating and cooling make up about 50% of our energy bills. The United States Department of Energy reports that changing your HVAC filter can improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment by 5% to 15%.

Imagine that savings in dollars:
Say your average utility bills total $200 a month – that could mean a savings of $10-$30 a month and up to $360 a year!

Determining When to Change the Filter

Do you change your filter at the start of a new season or every month or do you change it when it looks dirty? What are the factors that determine how often the air filter should be changed?

  • First determine what type of air filter you have? Each type of filter has a different life span, read up on your filter to determine when to change it.
  • What is the air quality like in the house? Does the air in your home seem musky or  do you have issues with allergies or frequent colds? You may need to replace your filter more often or choose a different type to help improve your home air quality.
  • Do you have pets? If you have pets in the home, you may want to consider changing filters more frequently or choosing a type that helps with dander.
  • How many people live in the home or come to your home? The more people in the home, the more dust and dirt flies around. Consider changing your filters more often.
  • Are your home in an area with high construction or pollution? If the answer is yes, check your filters frequently and make sure to change them when they are dirty. This will help to improve your air quality and help extend the life span of your HVAC unit.

How Often Should Filters Be Changed?

After you have read some of the above recommendations, the conclusion is to change your filters when they are dirty. How quickly your filters get dirty depends on the living condition in your home, the type of filters used, and how often and how hard your HVAC equipment is used. In unusually hot summers or cold winters, the filters are going to need checking more often. A good rule of thumb is check them once a month.

Which is the Right Type of Air Filter for My Home?

There are a lot of choices today when it comes to air filters. There are different sizes, shapes, thickness with a variety of technological attributes for energy efficiency. The Right Air Filter depends on what you are looking for in a filter and whether you like the results.  Here are the some of the types of air filters you may be able to use for your HVAC equipment.

  • Economy panel filters – These come in a pack of four or five and are relatively inexpensive. The downside is that you get what you pay for. These filters simply do not filter much at all and you will probably be replacing them once a month which may be perfect solution for many.
  • Pleated filters – Pleated filters, which can last from three to six months, are from 10% to 60% more efficient than conventional AC filters.
  • Electrostatic filters – These are both energy-efficient and cost-effective. They may cost a little more but can typically be washed and reused.
  • Electronic filters – These filters can get dusty quickly, but it typically does not negatively impact airflow. To clean them, you remove the cells, soak them in cleaner, rinse and reuse.
  • HEPA filters – Although HEPA filters are the most efficient, you will likely pay a premium for these filters