Best American Heating and Cooling

bestamericanheatingandcooling-How often you should change your air filter


How often you need to change the air filter on the following:


  • Air filter design
  • Overall indoor air quality
  • Quantity of pets
  • Household size
  • The level of air pollution and construction near the residence
  • The MERV Rating


Brands generally tell you to change your air filter every 30–90 days, but if you want to improve the air quality in your home, especially if someone in your family suffers from allergies, you can change them more frequently.


You might be wondering how often you need to replace your air filter, and the answer will depend on a few things:


If you don’t have any smokers or pets in your home, and your filter is a 1″ filter with a MERV rating of 4, you can probably go up to 90 days without changing it.


What air filter models last longer?


When you’re looking at air filters, you should consider how often they need to be replaced. Some air filters can last up to six months, while others only last for one month. The thickness and density of the air filter is usually a good indicator of how long it will last, but you should also check the MERV Rating.


MERV Rating is a scale that assesses how efficiently an air filter can remove particles from the air, with the range from 1-20. The higher the MERV Rating, the smaller the particle that the air filter can remove. This scale is important because it gives consumers an idea of how well a particular air filter can work.



A filter with a higher MERV Rating will last longer, but it can also restrict the flow of air in your home. You will need to change the filter more often if you have an older system.


How often should I replace my air filter if it’s getting thicker?


The longevity of an air filter is determined by its thickness. A 1″ filter won’t last as long as a 4″ filter because it will get clogged more quickly. A 1″ pleated air filter must be replaced every 30-60 days.


  • A 2″ pleated air filter should be replaced every 3 months.
  • A 3” pleated air filter should be replaced every 120 days.
  • A 4″ pleated air filter should be replaced every 6 months.
  • A 5” or 6″ pleated air filter should be replaced every 9-12 months.


Denser filters have many advantages, one of which is a better MERV Rating. This means they are better at eliminating particles from your home, providing you with cleaner air to breathe. Additionally, less air resistance can help a home’s HVAC system run more smoothly, and cause less wear and tear on components such as the blower motor.


If you have a whole-home air purifier, you will need to be vigilant about changing the filters on a regular basis.


How often should I replace my air filter if I have a dog or cat?


If you have pets, you will need to replace your air filter more frequently. Pet hair and dander can clog an air filter and make it less effective. For each shedding dog you have, you should replace the filter a month sooner than if you didn’t have any pets. The same is true for cats, which is why they are often recommended for people with allergies. If you have allergies and want a pet, you might want to consider a hypoallergenic or non-shedding dog or cat so that you don’t have to replace your air filter as often.


Even though it’s a good rule of thumb to check your air filter monthly, you will need to do it more frequently to figure out if it has to be swapped out. Dogs don’t shed the same amount of fur year-round. They shed more during the spring and fall because they blow their coat during those seasons. Check the air filter monthly and replace it when it is clogged.


The following averages may help give you an idea of how often you should replace the air filter at your home:


  • If there is no individual occupant in the vacation house and there are no pets or allergies, it is recommended to clean every 6-12 months
  • A common suburban home without pets typically requires a deep cleaning every three months
  • A single dog or cat: every 2 months
  • If you have more than one pet or if anyone has allergies: 20–45 days


What will happen if I don’t replace my air filter or don’t use one at all?


The role of a filter in your HVAC system is that it needs to be used to protect both the sensitive components of your HVAC system (the equipment itself) and sensitive components of your building (the environment in which you live).”It’s very important to note that there are high efficiency filters that are designed to filter out small bacteria, mold, and fungal particles, but your standard MERV 8-11 filters will just block out larger particles of dust, dirt and hair.


Regular air filters typically aren’t designed to filter the air forever. Eventually, they would have to fill up with dust and dirt. Paper filters are reusable, usually with cardboard frames and a paper screen. Sturdier filters are recyclable, usually with paper, with a metal frame and a foldable screen.


If you don’t change your AC filter, the AC fan that is attached to the HVAC system will begin to fail. The HVAC fan itself may begin to fail, causing the air storage to fail.Dust, or fine particulates, is the airway that can and does cause an AC unit to fail. It is a common term used to describe particles that are not dirt but are usually dust or see dust.


The next effects to worry about are the other contaminants that are entering a dirty system. However, the only type of filters that are good to clean are HEPA, or high energy particulate air filters. These air filters are much more effective than other filters at removing allergens, pollen, dander, and mold spores from the air. This makes them an excellent choice for people who want to improve their indoor air quality. HEPA are categorized by MERV ratings 1 through 20. The higher the rating, the more effective it is at catching small particles. HEPA filters can give you better air quality as compared to standard air filters.


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