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A-1 Mechanical Blog

How Often Should I Change My HVAC Filter?

A common question we get from homeowners has to do with how often to change the air filter. If you Google this info, the results can be confusing with recommendations from every month from twice a year. It’s understandable why people get confused!

Although the easiest answer is, “Change the air filter when it’s dirty,” it’s a little more nuanced than that. There are a lot of factors that determine how often you should change the HVAC filter. From your household size to whether you have pets, let’s answer the question more definitively.

Filter Material

The material the filter is made out of affects how often it should be changed. Fiberglass air filters are an economical, disposable filter that should be changed every 30 days.

Pleated air filters are also disposable but are more efficient at filtering compared to fiberglass filters and can therefore be replaced less often every 60-90 days.

Home Size

Your home’s square footage makes a difference. A larger home has more air to filter compared to a smaller home. That’s why a larger home should have its filter changed more often than a smaller home. 

Air Quality

Do you live in a rural or urban area? A home that’s in the woods will need the filter changed less often than a home in an industrial area. The exception to this rule is if your area has been inundated with wildfire smoke. 


The frequency of your air filter changes is affected by the season. If you’re using your HVAC system less in the spring and fall, then you don’t need to change it as often. But during the heat and cold of summer and winter, it needs more frequent changes.


Are you a pet owner? Do you own one short-haired cat who’s inside only or several long-haired dogs that go outside frequently and track dirt and dust inside? Pet fur and even their dander have an effect on your air filter. You’ll need to change your filter more often depending on the number of furry pets you own.

Allergies or Asthma

If anyone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, changing the filter frequently is important to reduce symptoms. Excess dust, pet dander, and other allergens floating around in your home’s air can make allergy symptoms such as dry mucous membranes, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose even worse. Particulate matter is also harmful to people with asthma.


How many people live in your home? A family of six will need to change the filter much more often than someone who lives alone. Also, consider the makeup of your household. Children are more susceptible to illness from indoor air pollutants such as dust, dander, pollen, and mold spores than adults.  

Are you still not certain how often to change your air filter? We’re always here to answer any questions you may have on this issue.

Contact A-1 Mechanical Heating & Cooling for your furnace repairs and maintenance in Lansing, MI. Comfort and Character You Can Depend On!

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