hands holding dirty HVAC air filter

How Often Should I Replace My HVAC System’s Air Filter?

Do you know how often you should be changing your system’s air filter? Are you sure? The packaging on most disposable pleated air filters explains that these products last for up to 90 days. “Up to” are the key words in that phrase.

In reality, most people’s air filters are due for a replacement much sooner than the 90-day mark and should actually be replaced after 30 to 60 days. Below, we’ll explain what can cause your air filter to clog and what happens when a dirty air filter stays in your HVAC system too long.

7 Things That Make Air Filters Dirty Before 90 Days Are Up

The following circumstances can cause your air filter to clog with debris more quickly than you might anticipate:

  1. Heavy Use. The more often you use your heater or air conditioner, the more quickly the air filter is going to get dirty. Make sure to check on the filter more often during summer and winter.
  2. Wildfires. Even if it seems like wildfire smoke stays outdoors, particles still end up inside homes and affect indoor air quality. For instance, during California’s “wildfire season,” air filters can become coated with pollution very quickly.
  3. Furry or Hairy Pets. Most cats and dogs shed hair, and even those that don’t will shed dander. If you own pets that shed a lot, you may need to change your air filter more frequently to prevent pet hair from clogging it.
  4. Renovation Projects. Remodeling tends to create a lot of dust, and airborne dust has a good chance of finding its way into your air filter. During and after a remodel or renovation in your home, keep filter replacements handy.
  5. Moving Stored Items. Whether you’re moving into a new home or hauling Christmas decorations out of storage, you’re bound to kick up dust in the process.
  6. Smoking Indoors. While your air filter cannot filter out the chemicals in cigarette smoke, the smoke does coat filters with residue. Depending on how often you smoke indoors, you may need to change your filter monthly.
  7. Large Household. While it may be a little gross to think about, people shed skin and hair constantly, and those things end up in our indoor air. Consequently, dead skin and hair will also end up in your air filter. If your household is particularly large, you may find that your filter gets clogged much earlier than 90 days.

Why Dirty Air Filters Are Bad

So why is a dirty air filter such a big deal? Simply put, dirty filters are one of the top causes of heating and cooling issues, along with a lack of routine maintenance. Clogged filters block airflow into your system, which can make the equipment less effective, less efficient, and more prone to overheating and breaking down.

At Monarch Home Services, we’re proud to offer top-quality heating and cooling services in Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, and throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Contact us online or call us today at (661) 271-6099 to schedule an appointment!

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