Do you sometimes ask, “how often should furnace filters be changed?”

Though homeowners have different heating equipment choices, their furnaces all have filters.

Whether you prefer electric furnaces or natural gas furnaces, keeping your filters in great shape ensures top-notch performance. Continue reading below for a furnace filters guide.

How Often Should Furnace Filters be Changed?

How often should furnace filters be changed? The general rule for changing furnace filters is once every three months for 1 to 2-inch filters.

If you’re using 4-inch filters, change them every six months. For 5-inch filters, the ideal period is 12 months. The primary reason behind the differences is the thickness of your furnace filters.

Thicker filters can collect more dirt and dust compared to thinner ones. In turn, you need not replace them as often.

Flat filters often clog faster compared to pleated ones. They have less surface for accommodating dirt and dust.

Denser filters also need frequent changes. Check the filter’s MERV rating if it falls between 6 and 12. If it does, it should be enough for your home. Otherwise, it may not be ideal for blocking air particles.

Primary Factors to Consider

Aside from the thickness, other factors affect your furnace filter performance. The frequency of use also contributes to its longevity. Homes in the Southwest and other temperate regions use furnaces only a few times during winter.

On the flip side, those living in the North use their furnaces more often. Sometimes, changing filters every one to two months is necessary to avoid dust accumulation.

Another factor is whether you live with pets. The fur of your dogs and cats can shorten your furnace life. If you have one dog at home, replace your 1 to 2-inch filters every two months.

If you use 4-inch filters, replace them every four months. For 5-inch ones, change them every six months. If you own two or more furry pets, replace your filters a month earlier.

Does someone from your family have allergies? If so, replace your furnace filters more frequently. Alternatively, invest in high-end filters since they last longer and reduce allergens.

The location of your house is also a factor, especially if you live in a dusty area. Excess dust can quickly affect your furnace’s performance. Having smokers at home also means more frequent filter replacements.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Filters

What are the signs you need to replace your furnace filters? Rising electricity bills are one of the effects of a dirty filter. As your filters start to clog up and falter, your furnace needs to work harder.

Your energy bills will go up and leave you wondering. Track your electric bills for significant changes in your consumption. If you’re consuming the same amount but your bills keep rising, your filter may be the culprit.

Another vital sign is the health of your family. Do you often become sickly whenever you turn on your filter? Poor indoor air quality can cause allergies and other respiratory ailments.

Open up your furnace and inspect the filters. If there’s a lot of dust on the filters, replace them immediately.

Do you notice a burning smell in your furnace? In most cases, it can be a sign of overheating filters. To avoid overheating, ensure proper airflow throughout the system.

Dust accumulation can clog the filters, causing them to overheat. Check the filters for burning smells.

If you notice the furnace giving less heat, your filters may no longer be working. Check your home for increased dust accumulation. Consider clicking on the link if you’re searching for replacement furnace filters near me.

Changing Furnace Filters

Replacing furnace filters is easy since it requires no complex tools. Turn off your furnace and remove the door panel. Some furnaces design their panels for sliding or swinging open.

Locate the filter. In most cases, you can find it either at the blower chamber’s entrance or the air return duct. Some furnaces feature a separate cover to protect the filter.

Remove the cover if your furnace model has one.

Carefully slide out the old filter using both hands. If you feel resistance, the filter may have a lock. Locate and unlock to proceed.

Pull out the filter and put it up against the light. Check the amount of dirt to confirm whether a replacement is necessary. If you can’t see through the old filter, consider buying a new one.

Determine your type of filter. Those with plastic or metal frames are reusable. Clean them before putting them back in place.

Meanwhile, filters with cardboard frames are disposable.

Before installing the replacement filter, look for an arrow. It tells you where the filter should face. Follow the direction, slide the filter into place, and return the filter cover.

Close the primary door panel and turn your furnace back on. Take note of the date you replaced the filter for reference.

What if You Don’t Replace Furnace Filters?

What will happen if you continue using old filters? First, your HVAC system may sustain damages. Clogged filters block proper airflow, resulting in overheating.

Once the system cools and starts again, the problem will repeat itself. This short-cycling can lead to early system failure of the entire HVAC system.

Poor indoor air quality is the result of failing to replace your filter. Your family will feel cold during winter despite turning on your furnace. There will be cold and hot spots around your home instead of a consistent temperature.

Aside from paying higher bills, you may have to buy medications if your family gets sick.

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We hope our guide helped answer, “how often should furnace filters be changed?” With this knowledge, you can maintain HVAC efficiency. You can ensure comfort while keeping your family away from allergies.

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