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How Often Should I Change My HVAC Filter?

Sometimes when you Google something, you get a clear answer right away. But sometimes all you get is conflicting information. A common question we get from homeowners because Google doesn’t have the same answer is, “How often should I change my HVAC filter?”

Various sources will say that it should be as often as once a month to twice a year. It’s no wonder why people get confused! In a nutshell, the answers vary because different HVAC systems use different types of air filters. Also, the makeup of households varies from family to family.

The easiest answer is, “Change the air filter when it’s dirty.” But you don’t want to waste money on air filters if you don’t have to. There are a lot of factors that determine how often you should change the HVAC filter. From your household size to whether you have pets, let’s look at these determining factors.

Filter Material

The material the filter is made out of affects how often it should be changed. Fiberglass air filters are an economical, disposable filter that should be changed every 30 days.

Pleated air filters are also disposable but are more efficient at filtering compared to fiberglass filters and can be replaced less often every 2-3 months.

Air Quality

Do you live in a rural or urban area? A home that’s in the woods will need the filter changed less often than a home in an industrial area. The exception to this rule is if your area has been inundated with wildfire smoke. 


The frequency of your air filter changes is affected by the season. If you’re using your HVAC system less in the spring and fall, then you don’t need to change it as often. But during the heat and cold of summer and winter, it needs more frequent changes.


Are you a pet owner? Pet fur and even their dander affect your air filter. You’ll need to change your filter more often depending on the number of four-legged household members you have.

Allergies or Asthma

If anyone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, changing the filter frequently is important to reduce symptoms. Excess dust, dander, and other allergens floating around in your home’s air can make symptoms such as dry mucous membranes, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose even worse. 


How many people live in your home? Four household members will need to change their air filter more often than someone who lives alone. Unless as noted above, that single person has 2 cats and 2 dogs, and the household with 4 people has no pets. 

 Also, consider the makeup of your household. Children are more susceptible to illness from indoor air pollutants such as dust, dander, pollen, and mold spores than adults.  

Are you still not certain how often to change your air filter? We’re always here to answer any questions you may have on this issue.

Contact Quality Heating & Cooling today for furnace services in Middletown, NY. It’s not a Quality job, unless it has our Quality seal. 

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