How Often to Change Air Filters at Home?[Here’s the Juicy Details]

Last Updated on May 22, 2023

An air filter blocks the airflow and provides fresh, non-toxic air to the area. But at a particular time, it gets so full of dust that it is blocked from delivering fresh air. In such a case, changing the air filter is the only solution. But how often to change air filters at home?

You will need to change the filter every 3 months for efficiency. If there is any pet in your house, consider changing the filters every 2 months for better air sanitization. We have shared several facts about air filters, the working process, and some details about MERV, along with some tips.

Changing an Air Filter? – Overview

Most manufacturers of air filters suggest changing within this limit to ensure longevity. Also, there are a few facts about the MERV that are essential to know that can change the time of changing it.

One of the most apparent signs of changing the filter is when the outside area is relatively dustier. Also, whenever you feel like you have an allergic reaction, increased electricity bill, or low MERV rating, check whether the filter needs to be cleaned or not.

When there are pets, their fur can cause trouble and may require you to clean the filters sooner than you thought you would have to. It is recommended to change the filter every 20-45 days for people with severe allergic issues. Everything depends on how the product is and how you use it.

What Is a MERV Rating?

MERV means minimum efficiency reporting value rating. The range measures the filter’s efficiency in removing dust and other harmful environmental molecules. Also, it describes how effectively the filter stops the contaminated air through the air steam.

A filter with a higher MERV rating can catch the smallest molecule particles more accurately than the ones with a lower MERV rating. According to my knowledge, a filter with MERV 16 or below is considered the HVAC system grade filter.

It is suitable for both commercial and residential use. It is also ideal for hospitals. Moreover, with MERV 17-20 rating, they are good enough to use in those areas that need ultimate cleanliness, like clean rooms and surgical operating rooms.

Air moves through the HVAC system of a building. So, the air filter can easily trap almost all the molecules of allergens, dust, and microorganisms. As the environment is being filtered, it delivers healthy breathable air. Ensure you know all about the MERV rating to get the right air filter.

Get a filter with a higher MERV rating for a better filtering facility. Besides, you can also get a better air filter than the air conditioner manufacturer recommends. It’s not like getting a filter with a higher MERV is always better. But if it provides better performance, you should give it a try.

Highly rated air filters contain smaller pores. As a result, it can trap dust and bacteria by creating more resistance to airflow. That’s how it removes the lousy airflow and brings in healthy breathing air indoors.

How to Know You Need to Change Air Filters?

There are a few reasons you need to be aware of when it comes to changing air filters. Some primary and general signs to look out for when to change air filters are as mentioned below:

HVAC system Gets Hot

The first sign is when the HVAC unit is getting too hot. It is a clear sign indicating you to change the air filters as soon as possible.

Not Getting Enough Air

Another reason is not getting enough cold air. The HVAC unit should purify and provide a much cooler temperature in that area. If it doesn’t happen, then there is something problematic with the air filters that need your attention.

Allergic Reactions

You probably experience specific allergic reactions because of bacteria and harmful molecules that the filter can’t trap. These molecules can be responsible for your unexpected allergic reactions.

Increased Electricity Bills

An increased electricity bill can be a sign for you to check the filter. This may be caused due to dust near the air vents.

It could also be because of a manufacturing fault. If the filter size is not compatible or the design of the filter is not suitable for your room, then you should know the time has come to get new filters.

Low MERV Rating

Having pets can cause damage to the filter because of their fur. A higher level of pollution outside the area can be the reason for having super dirty filters. The overall air quality indoors should be in a suitable condition. If it isn’t, you need to change the filters immediately.

How Does An Air Filter Work?

There are a few things you need to know about a filter. Some of the facts you need to know about the mechanism of an air filter are as mentioned below –

Manufacturing Process

An air filter is generally made from spun fiberglass. You can also call it pleated paper. It is framed with cardboard to ensure stability. The paper is inserted into a particular place. This way, the filter works like a barrier to stop entering contaminated air into the HVAC system.

Working Process

An air filter helps to block dirt, dust, lint, pet hair, and even bacteria. Every filter has a specific MERV rating that describes the size and type of harmful particles that pollute the air. You can easily choose the right air filter for your area if you know it.

What Happens If You Don’t Change the Air Filter?

Changing the air filter in time is the easiest way to ensure the filter works better like a new one and ensure the air conditioner last longer. Having better performance doesn’t mean the filter purifies the air. It means it becomes more practical to stop letting harmful components into it.

Air filters are not meant to filter the air for a long time. The purpose is to block the dirt that is stored in the filters. If you don’t change the filter regularly, the dirt gets stuck in it, causing many issues.

Such as, the electricity bill will be increased, the place won’t be as cool as it should be, and you will experience an allergic reaction because of dust. That’s why changing the filter in time is so important.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens if you don’t change the air filter in the house?

If you don’t change the air filter in time, you will face different issues. The airflow gets reduced. So, it cannot cool down to the temperature as it should.

Also, it cannot run for a long time as it hampers longevity. Besides, it uses more energy because of excess dust on the filters. That’s why you need to pay a lot for the electricity bill.

2. How do I know when to change the air filter in my house?

When you notice the HVAC unit is no longer cooling, heating, and purifying, the reason behind this could be dirty air filters that need to be changed. Also, if there are pets, you should clean up every 2 months. Moreover, if you get any allergic reactions, check the filters and change them if needed.

Wrap Up

Now that you know almost all about changing the air filters follow the instructions. Research well about “how often to change air filters at home?” and check the filters quite often.

When you see it dirty and full of dust, you MUST change it as soon as possible. Don’t compromise with changing the air filter if needed!

Photo of author

Paul M Walker

I, Paul M Walker, am the founder and the author of this little site you are currently on. I work to provide readers with no-fuss and easy-to-follow solutions regarding common air purifier and humidifier problems.

Leave a Comment