A well-maintained HVAC system is an asset to your home, providing efficient heating and cooling throughout its long lifespan. One of the easiest ways to maintain this important system is to change the air filters regularly. Wondering how often to change an air filter? Every 90 days is recommended, but that can vary based on the type of air filter your need. We’ll review how to change your home HVAC filter, as well as answer some helpful FAQs, to ensure your system runs smoothly.

How to Change an HVAC Air Filter at Home

Changing an air filter at home requires no tools or professional expertise and can be accomplished in minutes.

Follow these simple steps to change your HVAC filter with ease:

  1. Turn off the HVAC system at the thermostat.
  2. Open the HVAC filter door.
  3. Pull out the old filter.
  4. Before installing the new filter, double check that it’s the right size by comparing it to the old one.
  5. Insert the new filter in the compartment. Make sure the airflow arrows are pointing in the right direction.
  6. Replace the filter door.
  7. Turn the system back on at the thermostat.

How Do I Know if My Air Filter Needs Changing?

If you forget how often to change an air filter there are usually some key signs that a change is due. These clues indicate the need for a filter change and shouldn’t be ignored:

  • Increased energy bills: A clogged filter can interrupt airflow while dusty cooling coils can make an HVAC system work harder. Either circumstance may increase energy bills by as much as 15%.
  • Worsening allergies: If your family’s allergies suddenly become worse, it could be a sign the filter is clogged and unable to remove pollutants.
  • Dusty air vents: Dusty buildup around the air vents usually indicates a clogged filter.
  • Can’t remember the last change: If you have no memory of the last time you changed the filter, it’s likely due for a change.

How Long Can You Go Without Changing an Air Filter?

While we recommend changes every 90 days, how often to change an air filter in your HVAC system can vary. Homes with allergy and asthma sufferers, pets or small children may require a change every 6-8 weeks to ensure optimum air quality. The following factors can also dictate how often to change an air filter in home:

  • Frequency of use: How often you use your HVAC system will affect how dirty the filter gets. Constant use requires more frequent changes while seasonal or intermittent use necessitates fewer.
  • Size of home: HVAC systems in smaller homes may pump less air, potentially resulting in less frequent changes.
  • Type of filter: Cheaper, fiberglass filters require monthly changes while higher-end pleated filters can go as long as 6 months without being changed.

What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Filter?

While keeping track of how often to change an air filter can seem insignificant, it could have big implications. Both your HVAC system and your home’s air quality can suffer if you don’t change your filter regularly.

A dirty air filter can cause the following problems:

  • Increased energy usage may result in higher utility bills.
  • Your HVAC system works harder, risking breakdowns and repairs.
  • The system can take longer to heat or cool your home.
  • Air quality within the home may decrease due to a higher level of pollutants.

Knowing how often to change an air filter can prevent multiple problems but sometimes an HVAC repair is unavoidable. When your system is in need of professional service, call Dependable Heating and Air for an expert repair.