How frequently should you replace your furnace filter? A clean and properly functioning furnace filter plays a crucial role in maintaining excellent air quality and ensuring energy efficiency in your home. Let’s dive into this topic and explore the recommended guidelines for replacing your furnace filter.
Renowned home improvement expert Bob Vila suggests that changing a furnace filter at least once every 90 days is a general rule of thumb. However, it’s important to recognize that multiple factors can influence the frequency of filter replacements. These factors include your lifestyle, the type of furnace filter you choose, and the specific recommendations provided by the filter manufacturer. By paying attention to these factors, you can make an informed decision about when to replace your furnace filter.
To determine if it’s time to replace the filter, visually inspect it. If the filter appears gray and is covered in dust and lint, it’s a clear indication that it requires replacement. Fortunately, the process of changing the filter is straightforward. If the filter is located behind a return-air vent, you can loosen the screws holding the filter cover and remove the old filter. Alternatively, if the filter is on the side of the furnace, simply pull it out from its slot. Remember to have a large trash bag ready to properly dispose of the dirty filter.
To ensure you don’t forget to replace the filter, consider marking your calendar every 90 days or at the beginning of each new season. Even during warm weather when you rely more on air conditioning, it remains crucial to change the filter. A clean filter prevents dust from being drawn through the HVAC system, which could accumulate on the air conditioner’s inner coils and reduce its efficiency.
While the general guideline is to replace the filter every 90 days, the frequency can vary based on different factors. A comprehensive guide from HomeServe suggests that the thickness of the filter, air quality in your location, the size of your home, and whether you have pets can all impact how often you should change your furnace filter. Thicker filters, which have more space to collect dirt and dust, can be replaced less frequently. Filters less than 2 inches thick may require replacement every 30 to 90 days, while 3- or 4-inch filters can last 6 to 9 months. Filters up to 6 inches thick may only need replacement once a year.
If you have pets, it’s important to note that pet fur and dander can accumulate quickly, leading to more frequent filter replacements. For households with one pet, it is recommended to swap 1- to 3-inch filters every two months. If you have multiple dogs and cats, it’s advised to change the filter every three to six weeks.
While considering the general guideline of replacing your furnace filter every 90 days, it’s essential to take into account the specific factors mentioned earlier. Regularly inspecting the filter’s cleanliness and performance is key to determining when it requires replacement. By following these recommendations and paying attention to your unique circumstances, you can maintain optimal air quality, energy efficiency, and the longevity of your furnace system.