Your furnace filter is your home’s first line of defense against dust, dirt and airborne allergens during the colder winter months. Over time, as it traps particles that would otherwise make it into the air you breathe, the filter clogs and becomes less and less effective. This in turn forces your furnace to work harder, making it less energy-efficient.
The good news is that changing these filters is easy. Different filters have different lifespans, though, and it can sometimes be hard to tell when to change your furnace filter.
Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether your filter is dirty enough to warrant a change.
How to decide if it's time for a filter change
Do you have pets?
Pet hair and dander gets caught in furnace filters as air circulates through your house. Pets like dogs and cats, especially if they regularly go in and out of the home, create dirt and dust more easily. If you have one or more pets, you'll want to change the filters more regularly.
Does anyone in the home smoke?
Not only is tobacco is also a prime allergen for many people, any smoke in the house will create airborne particles which will build up in your furnace filters. If anyone in your family smokes, it means more frequent filter changes.
How often do you leave doors and windows open?
If you're leaving your home open to fresh air, you're also leaving it open to the dust, dirt, and allergens in that air. Regularly opening doors and windows makes your filter work harder, so if your doors and windows are often open, you'll want to change your filter more often.
Do you run your heat consistently?
If your heat is usually on, then your filter is usually working to clean the forced air. Consistently running heat should mean consistently changing your filter.
When to change your furnace filter
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then you'll want to consider a regular filter changing schedule.
- For a house with more airborne particles, you should consider a monthly filter changing schedule.
- Fewer airborne particles in the house can extend your filter’s life, and your changing schedule could be every 2-3 months.
If you're a pet lover and have 6 dogs, for example, you'll probably want to change your filter every month.
If you don't smoke, rarely run your heat, and have no pets, then you might be able to stretch that to every 3 months.
One of the biggest factors is what type of filter you purchase. The cheapest fiberglass options aren't made to last more than 1-2 months, but home pleated paper filters are rated at 4-12 months.
An electrostatic filter furnace is a great option to control airborne bacteria, germs, mold and mildew while reducing odors. These are easy to install, and come with a lifetime warranty. BoAir electrostatic filters are highly effective and designed to last the life of the air system in which it is installed.
Besides knowing the factors in your home and how long the filter you purchased is supposed to last, you should examine your filter.
“If it looks dirty, change it,” is a great rule of thumb for your furnace filter.
If you know the environmental factors of your home, you can have a better idea of when you should change your filter. A clean furnace filter is an easy way to maintain great air quality and have an energy-efficient home.