Your home’s HVAC air filters play a huge role in keeping your household systems functioning. Whenever the heating or cooling unit is circulating air to keep your living space comfortable, those filters are keeping the air clean and allowing the appliance to run efficiently. If the air filters are neglected, though, they’ll eventually catch enough contaminants to become clogged. That will directly impact your home comfort, energy bills, and the health of your HVAC system. Plus, the overall quality of the air you’re breathing will worsen.

If you regularly replace your air filters, you can avoid dealing with these issues. However, there’s no universal answer for how often you need to change them. So, the wise choice is to examine the specific details of your household and lifestyle, then make an informed decision based on a handful of important factors.

Two Common Filter Types

If you’d like to determine the ideal timeframe for replacing your HVAC filters, the first thing you should consider is what type of filters you’re using. Most likely, they are either pleated or fiberglass air filters. Fiberglass filters are cheaper, but you generally get what you pay for, and they will occasionally let contaminants slip through. They also only last around 30 days on average before they need to be changed.

The other common type of air filter is the pleated air filter. Pleated filters are more expensive than fiberglass ones, but they’re also more effective and stay clean for significantly longer. Usually, you can wait approximately 90 days before replacing pleated filters.

When you’re considering the other variables around your home, use 30 or 90 days as the starting point for how often you should change your air filters, depending on which type you use.

Who Lives in Your Household?

One of the first things you’ll want to consider is who currently lives in your home. For one, think about whether any small children or elderly people share the home with you. Typically, young children and the elderly will be significantly more sensitive to contaminated air. Pollutants like dust mites, mold spores, and pollen will be more likely to cause respiratory issues in people who are especially young or old. The more often you change your air filters, the cleaner your home’s air will be, so don’t hesitate to replace them more frequently to protect your home’s occupants

It’s also important to factor in the number of people who you live with. The more often your heating and cooling appliance is circulating air, the more quickly the filter will fill up with contaminants. In most cases, more people living in a home means that the heater and AC unit will be working more often and harder to keep the home comfortable. Therefore, you will need to change the filter more often than if only one or two people live in a home.

Different Guidelines for Different Seasons

In the De Pere, WI area, the climate will differ quite a bit depending on the season, and that means that the life expectancy of your air filters will vary as well. When the scorching heat of the summer or the freezing cold of the winter is present, you’ll undoubtedly be depending on your HVAC system frequently to keep your home comfortable. During those seasons, your air filters will be catching airborne contaminants for many hours every day, which will cause them to get dirty very quickly. So, during summer and winter, you should be extra proactive about changing them.

The spring and fall in Wisconsin aren’t nearly as harsh, and your HVAC system will probably get regular rest during those months. So, you’ll probably be safe to wait a bit longer before you replace its air filters. That said, the springtime does typically come with quite a bit of pollen floating around, so you may end up wanting to change your air filters more often anyway.

Where Do You Live?

Obviously, the more pollutants your HVAC filters must trap, the quicker they’ll get clogged. So, if you live in an area where the air is very polluted, it’s going to impact how long the filters last. For example, if you live right next to a bustling urban area, the air that circulates into your household will probably be of a lower quality than if you lived out in the country. Additionally, if you live in an area that experiences wildfires, the smoke in the air can have a massive impact on the longevity of your air filters. Make sure you’re considering these things while deciding when to replace the air filters with new ones.

Do You Have Pets?

One of the few downsides to having furry friends running around the house is the effect that they can have on your HVAC filters. The more dogs or cats you have, the more hair and dander you’ll have around your household. That hair and dander will get circulated into your air, which means it will eventually end up trapped in your air filters. Plus, if any of your animals regularly spend time outdoors, they’ll probably be dragging mold spores, dirt, and pollen into your home on their paws and fur.

Does Anyone in Your Home Have Allergies?

Allergy symptoms can be a major pain. All the coughing, sneezing, runny noses, and facial irritation can get old fast. Usually, the presence of more contaminants in the air will make allergy symptoms worse, especially during the spring. If you or anyone else living in your home regularly experiences these discomforts, changing the air filters more often should help. Instead of waiting until the symptoms appear, you’d be wise to be proactive and replace the filters routinely.

How Large Is Your Home?

Another factor that can affect the life expectancy of your air filters is the total size of your home. If you live in a relatively small dwelling, your HVAC system won’t circulate as much air as is needed for a larger space. That means its filters don’t get dirty as rapidly. However, if you live in a larger house with lots of space, the heating and cooling unit will spend significantly more time blowing air, which means much more air will pass through the filters.

Before basing any decision on the size of your house, though, make sure to check the size of your HVAC air filters. Sometimes, the HVAC system in small homes features smaller air filters as well, which have less space to trap contaminants before they become clogged.

Call Us for Quality Heating and Cooling Services

When you need information about how often to change your air filter, reach out to our skilled technicians. We also offer expert installation, repairs, and maintenance. If you have an unexpected air or heating problem, our technicians provide emergency service day or night. We can also assist you with your indoor air quality, ventilation, and numerous other aspects of your home’s comfort and functionality. Give Healthy Home Heating & Cooling LLC a call today if you’d like to schedule an appointment!