How Often Should Filters be Changed?

Techs installing a new filter

Your filters should basically be changed when they are dirty. While this may seem like generic advice, it all depends on the living condition in your home, the type of filters used, and how often and how hard your HVAC equipment is used. In unusually hot summers or cold winters, the filters are going to need changed more often. A good rule to follow is to change them once a month.

Which is the right type of air filter for me?

With many advances in technology, homeowners have a lot more choices in energy-efficient equipment and accessories. Even something as simple as air filters come in many varieties. Here are some of the types of air filters you may be able to use for your HVAC equipment.

Types of filters

  • Economy panel filters – These are relatively inexpensive filters. They do not filter much at all and you will probably be replacing them once a month. We recommend this type of air filter in homes where the duct work is poorly designed. Why? The air filter allows for air flow in a poorly designed restricted duct work system. Denser air filters such as the pleated type will restrict air flow even more causing the HVAC equipment to operate at a higher cost or fail prematurely.
  • Pleated filters – Pleated filters, which can last from three to six months, filter more particulate than an economy air filter and cost a few dollars more.
  • Media air filters – Media air filters, also know as a media air cleaner, are efficient at capturing particles like dust, smoke, pet dander and mold spores. These types of air filters usually last 6-12 months. Unlike an economy or pleated air filter, they are generally 4-5 inches wide requiring a cabinet to fit the filter.

Heating and cooling make up about 50% of our energy bills. The United States Department of Energy reports that changing your HVAC filter can improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment by 5% to 15%. Most people will change their filters at the start of a new season, when they know the equipment is going to be working its hardest. Some people, on the other hand, change it once a month; just to be on the safe side.

What are the factors that determine how often the air filter should be changed?

  • What type of air filter do you have? Since each type has a different life span, use that to help determine how often to change it.
  • What is the air quality like in the house? If the air does not seem as clear or fresh as it used to, or you are having issues with allergies or frequent colds, you may need to replace your filter more often or choose a different type.
  • Are there pets in the house? If you have pets in the home, you may want to consider changing filters more frequently or choosing a type that helps with dander.
  • How many people are in the home? The more people in the home, the more dust and dirt flies around – consider changing your filters more often.
  • Are you in an area with high construction or pollution? If the answer is yes to either of these, check your filters frequently and make sure to change them when they are dirty.

If you have any questions about air filters, please give us a call at(410) 391-3070 and we will advise you so that your filter choice is the right one!

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Contemporary Air Systems, Inc.
613 Eastern Blvd.
Essex, MD 21221
Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 12:00pm

Serving Harford and Baltimore County Since 1993