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How Often Should I Change My Home Air Filters?

Regularly changing your home’s air filters is essential to keeping your heating and air conditioning system protected. One challenge stands in the way of many homeowners: understanding when to change out your air filters. The cadence of your home air filter chances depends on a wide variety of factors, including your home size, the air quality in your area, whether or not you have pets, and even your cooking preferences. Let’s take a closer look at home air filters. 

Do I Really Need to Change My Air Filters?

You might find yourself wondering, “Do I really need to replace my home air filters?” The short answer is yes—changing home air filters is necessary, and it can help you save money long-term. When your air filters become clogged, they restrict the airflow to your air conditioner. This makes your AC unit overwork to keep your home cool. 

So what happens when you don’t change your home air filters? Generally speaking, clogged filters can lead to high energy bills, ineffective functioning (such as AC systems blowing warm air), and HVAC damage. For homeowners, this can also interfere with your warranty. For renters, if you are caught with dirty air filters, you could be held responsible for HVAC damage or lose your deposit—depending on your leasing agreement. 

Factors that Impact Air Filter Change Cadence

When deciding how often to change your home air filters, there are a few different factors that you should consider:

  • Cleaning Routines: If you regularly capture dust and debris that might otherwise get picked up by your air filters, it can help prevent your filters from clogging. 
  • Air Purifiers: Many air purifiers can work with your filters to trap contaminants. Other air purifiers make use of your home’s air filters. As such, the type of air purifier you have could impact how frequently you change your filters. 
  • Area Air Quality: When the air in your area is filled with a higher volume of contaminants, your filters may clog more quickly.
  • Health Concerns: Individuals living with allergies, asthma, or other air sensitivities may need more frequent air filter changes.
  • Pets: Pet dust and dander can quickly fill home air filters, requiring more frequent replacements.
  • Cooking: Some cooking methods release particles—like oil—into the air, which may then be trapped by your air filters. 

When Should I Change My Air Filters?

On average, standard 1-3” pleated filters need to be changed every 1-3 months. Here is a look at which of these replacement cadences are right for you:

Changing Air Filters Every Month

If you check all of the boxes on air filter considerations, you may require monthly replacements. For example, if your home has multiple pets, poor air quality, and you suffer from allergies or asthma.   

Changing Air Filters Every 2 Months

Some homes fall in the middle category of air filter replacement needs. For example, you may need air filter changes every 2 months when you have one low-allergen pet, mild air quality, or slight allergen concerns.

Changing Air Filters Every 3 Months

In a best-case scenario, you can change your air filters every 3 months. For example, if you live in an area with clean air and your home has no pets, you could be fine with every 3 months.

How to Check Your Air Filters

If you’re still unsure whether or not you are due for an air filter change, consider taking a look behind your vents. Thankfully, checking your air filters in a quick 2-step process:

  • First, locate the vents in your home containing filters. These are often large square or rectangle vents that have a hinge to open for filter replacements.
  • Next, open the tabs that keep your vents shut to inspect your filters. If your filters are dusty and dirty, you should replace them.

Which Way Should Air Filters Go In?

One of the most common questions we get from customers about air filters is, “Which direction should filters face in the vents?” The side of your filters should have an arrow pointing towards the airflow. While the small rectangular vents that you see on your floors, walls, or ceilings are responsible for air output, your large vents are responsible for air intake. As such, you should place your filter inside your vent with the arrow pointing inwards.

Bonney Air Quality Support in Sacramento

Bonney has all of the tools and resources needed to keep your air clean. Our local air quality professionals can provide you with an allergen filter that is safe for your AC unit. We also offer air purifiers that are installed directly into your ductwork for consistently clean air. You can read more about our air quality services or make your appointment to get started today!