How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?

How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?

Dirty Pleated Air FilterHave you ever had this question? Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

This is one of the most common heating and cooling questions we receive from East Valley homeowners.

But the answer is both complicated and simple at the same time: it depends.

Depends on what?

Before we can accurately tell you how often you should think about changing your air filter, we have to ask you a few questions of our own.

  • Do you have pets?
  • What kind of air filter do you have?
  • How is the quality of the air outside your home?

You see, each of these questions helps determine how quickly your air filter will become dirty to the point of being detrimental to your heating and cooling system’s energy efficiency.

For example, those with pets will need to change their air filters more often (that pet hair gets everywhere!) Ditto for those who live in the outside areas of the East Valley, where there are a lot of dirt fields still.

And the type of air filter will also play a role in the frequency of change. The better filters remove a greater percentage of air contaminants, which means they will get dirty more quickly.

So what’s the magic number?

For Phoenix-area homeowners, it is recommended that you check your air filter at least once a month. Then, replace it when it is visibly dirty.

In general, you can expect to change your air filter every 1-3 months, depending on the type of air filter you have and the quality of the air in your home.

Why is it so important for me to change my air filter?

Your home’s air filter protects your furnace and air conditioner or heat pump from large airborne particles that can damage your equipment and shorten its lifespan.

An air filter that goes unchanged becomes clogged with dirt. The dirt then restricts the airflow to your heating and cooling system.

Now, if you even the slightest about physics, you know that your heater and air conditioner can only provide you with as much air as it takes in.

It goes something like this:

  1. Your system gets less air (because of your clogged air filter), so
  2. It will returns less air, which means
  3. It will take much longer for your home to reach your desired temperature, which means
  4. Your heating and cooling system will be running more and for longer,
  5. Resulting in higher heating and cooling bills.

Not only that, but the increased stress on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump can shorten the lifespan of your equipment and cause breakdowns.

Bottom line: it pays to replace your air filter regularly, so do it.

No one likes getting answers like “it depends”, but sometimes that is the right answer. As long as you check your air filter about once a month and replace it when it is dirty, you should be ok.

Do you have a heating, air conditioning or air quality problem for us? You can ask one of our experts and get a swift response.