How Often Should I Replace My HVAC Air Filters?

indoor air qualityWhether you’re trying to heat or cool your home, an HVAC system keeps a house comfortable by first drawing air in, then forcing the conditioned air back out into the home through a series of ducts.

Unfortunately, the air that gets pumped back into your home can potentially contain a significant amount of pollutants and airborne irritants.

The US EPA states that indoor air pollution can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • Building materials, such as insulation that contains asbestos
  • Appliances
  • Tobacco products
  • Pollen
  • Cleaning products

The HVAC system moves air and these pollutants throughout your home. Also, these pollutants can become a source of health issues, including eye and throat irritation. Over time, the repeated exposure to these irritants could potentially lead to debilitating respiratory problems.

An HVAC system uses air filters that create a barrier between the air being pulled into the system and the actual heating and cooling unit. When the HVAC system draws in air, the filter should block particles from getting into the HVAC unit. Some high-tech HVAC systems will have an additional filter that the conditioned air must pass through. This secondary filter helps prevent any pollutants or irritants from being recirculated back into your home.

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HVAC Air Filter Changes & Indoor Air Quality Coplay PA

Most people realize that they need to change HVAC filters regularly; but, what they might not know is how often these filters should be changed. The frequency can vary from one home to another, and there are many factors you should consider to ensure the best indoor air quality.

Before shopping for HVAC filters, be sure to contact the manufacturer of your specific system to find out what filters they recommend. You can also speak to your local HVAC contractor, as they will know which type of filter works best with your system.

Purchase a replacement air filter that meets the manufacturer’s minimum suggested rating. The higher the rating, the more particles a filter will be able to remove from the air. On the downside, a filter with a higher rating can also reduce the rate at which air will be able to move through the filter. A reduction of airflow could adversely affect the proper operation of your heating and cooling equipment. An HVAC contractor or the manufacturer of your HVAC equipment will be able to recommend the best MERV rating for your system.

The Type Of Filter You Choose Does Matter

Try not to fall into the trap of buying an inferior filter that isn’t compatible with the type of HVAC system you have in your home.

Cheap filters typically mean that you’ll need to replace them more often, which will end up costing you about the same or more as you would pay if you just used a higher quality air filter in the first place.

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HVAC Air Filter: Frequency Of Replacements

If your family has many pets, it’s a good idea to change the air filter more often. The standard rule of thumb is to change filters more frequently if you have an indoor environment that is dusty, or that has a lot of airborne irritants or pollutants. You should also change them more regularly if you have severe allergies.

Conversely, if you have a home in an area of the country with a temperate climate, where running your HVAC system is something you rarely do, then you might be able to change filters every few months. However, indoor air pollutants tend to spike in the spring and fall, so it’s important to change filters at these times. They also spike when you rely on your HVAC system heavily.

If you have a vacation home or a home with only one person and no furry pets, the need to change filters could range from every few months to once a year. The average suburban home will typically need a new air filter every 90 days or so. If you have allergy sufferers in your home and you also have pets, you should consider changing air filters every 20-45 days.

To determine the frequency you require, check your filter often and replace it when it is dirty. Write the date on your filter. This way, you know when you replaced it last, and you can get an idea of how often it requires a replacement.

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Frequently Changing Air Filters Has Benefits

Changing filters regularly not only protects your family from irritants and airborne pollutants, but there are also other benefits. For example, clean filters can help you save money.

When you replace a clogged filter, your HVAC system uses less energy to run. The US DOE says that it could reduce energy consumption by up to 15%. The reason for this reduction in energy usage is that the HVAC system won’t need to work as hard to push air through a clean filter. A clean air filter helps to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. With less energy used, you’ll also see lower electricity bills.


R.F. Ohl has quality NATE certified contractors ready to provide professional HVAC repairs and maintenance services.

We offer affordable HVAC services you can rely on. These services can improve the energy efficiency of your home as well as improve indoor air quality. An HVAC system that is properly maintained will be able to provide the comfort your family needs, regardless of the weather. Give R.F. Ohl a call today and schedule an appointment.

Some of the areas that we service in Allentown, Coplay, Northampton, Whitehall and these zip codes 18101, 18037, 18067, 18052 as well as all surrounding areas in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

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Contact us today or give us a call at (610) 377-1098 if you have any questions.