How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace – When it comes to maintaining a healthy central air system in your home, most homeowners are aware that they need to change their supply air filters regularly. However, they may not be aware that they should also change the furnace filter at regular intervals.
The furnace is the part of your HVAC air filtration system responsible for taking cold air and warming it before it is blown throughout the rest of the house through the air handler.
How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace
Furnaces – the heating component of your central air system – are made up of several main parts that are responsible for heating the air inside your home. The heat exchanger, combustion chamber and air blower help in air conditioning. Your furnace filter helps keep it clean.
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So how often should you really change your furnace filter? Let’s take a deeper look at your home’s furnace filter, what it does, and why it’s important to change furnace filters regularly.
Before we get into the details of when and how often to change furnace filters, let’s discuss why they are needed in the first place.
The furnace filter is used to clean the air of contaminants and dust just before the air is drawn into the furnace system. The air passes through the filter material where the contaminants are trapped. This keeps contaminants out of the furnace and HVAC equipment below.
Without a filter the furnace would stop working pretty quickly because the device would be too clogged to function properly.
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There are also some residual benefits that come from using furnace filters. In addition to keeping the HVAC system clean of contaminants, furnace filters also help clean the indoor air you breathe. All air cleaning allows the HVAC system to operate as efficiently as possible, which lowers the cost of heating and cooling a home. Learn more about the different types of furnace filters.
You may not have realized that your furnace filter needs to be changed because furnace filters are not needed in every HVAC system. It all depends on the equipment involved and how the system is designed. Below are some cases when an HVAC system will not need a furnace filter.
Some people live in climates where air conditioning is needed almost year-round, meaning home heating is not a concern. It is possible that HVAC systems do not have any heating components and therefore do not need a furnace filter.
Some HVACs are designed to have a single air filtration system rather than a separate system for the air conditioner and furnace. In this case, only an HVAC air filter is needed. The filter is placed in a common air handler where it cleans the air before it is diverted to the air conditioning unit or furnace.
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Your specific situation is unique, but most air filtration experts agree that there is a general lifespan for furnace filters.
Keep in mind, this is a general recommendation. There are several factors that can shorten or lengthen the time between furnace filter replacement intervals.
Furnace filters are typically 1-, 2-, 4- and 5-inches thick. The thicker a furnace filter is, the more it can hold and the longer it will last. Below is a quick reference for filter thickness and change intervals:
The thickness of your furnace filter is dictated by the air handler and the furnace filter housing. You can’t try to fit a larger air filter into a small vent slot. It is also not advisable to use a furnace filter that is too thin for your furnace filter slot. This will result in insufficient filtration and pollutants entering your home’s air.
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Also keep in mind that thicker furnace filters tend to last longer, providing more filtration over time, so they tend to cost more than 1″ and 2″ furnace filters.
There are many variables that affect how often a furnace filter should be changed. Plus, you may need to change your furnace filter more often at certain times of the year. Instead of just going off the standard timeline, below are some special signs and considerations that will let you know when you need to change a furnace filter.
When in doubt, just take a quick look at the furnace filter. When a filter has reached the end of its life, it will look very dirty. Instead of seeing white folds, the air filter media will be a darker color, often gray or brown. You may also see larger pieces of debris.
In general, HVAC furnace filters do not need to be changed as regularly during the winter months compared to the summer months. In the winter, as long as the furnace filter isn’t dirty and clogged, you can go the recommended 90 days before needing a replacement. But if you have higher-than-usual usage during a particularly cold spell, it may warrant an earlier replacement interval.
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It all depends on the operating time and humidity. Typically, the air conditioner works more hours of the day in the summer. Longer duration means more air passes through the filter each day. Higher humidity levels during summer or winter can also make your furnace filter wet. Increased moisture reduces the filter’s capacity to hold contaminants and will need to be changed more often.
At this point you may be wondering how important changing your furnace filter is in the real world. You may even think you can skip some changes if you live in a mild climate or are not concerned about the air quality in your home.
Even if you live in a mild climate with high air quality, there is another important reason to change your furnace filter as recommended. Clean furnace filters help protect your HVAC system.
The main purpose of a furnace filter is not to clean the air you breathe, but to clean the air that passes through the furnace and other HVAC equipment. There are hundreds of components that can be adversely affected by air pollutants. When contaminants enter the system, they can cause build-up and premature wear that makes the equipment work harder.
Yes, You Need To Replace Your Furnace Filter Year Round
If you don’t change your furnace filter regularly, you could end up with an inefficient furnace that will likely have a shortened lifespan. This ends up costing homeowners money in the short term, as more energy is used to heat and cool the home.
Long-term costs include more frequent repairs and the need to replace the furnace or entire HVAC system sooner than expected.
Looking for the best air filters for your home? You can find specialty furnace filters and standard HVAC filters in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses. We can also create custom sized furnace filters so you get an exact fit!
We also offer 5 inch furnace filters (16x25x5 or 20x25x5), home air filter brands, and solid cell furnace filters.
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A furnace filter will last if the medium can collect airborne contaminants. Once the medium is completely saturated, it will no longer be able to filter air.
A 1-inch furnace filter should be changed at least once every 1 to 3 months or every 90 days.
During the winter when the furnace is used more often, you will need to change the furnace filter more often. It is not uncommon for furnace filters to need changing once a month in the winter. However, if your HVAC has a single filtration system that uses an air filter for both the air conditioning unit and the furnace, then replacements will be less frequent in the winter than in the summer.
A Honeywell furnace filter will have the same filter replacement recommendations as standard filters. Just be careful not to confuse Honeywell furnace filters with their HEPA air filters for cleaners, which last much longer.
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A Carrier furnace filter has similar filter replacement recommendations. Conveyor fiberglass furnace filters should be changed every 30 days. Their pleated furnace filters can last anywhere from 3 months to a year.
Aprilaire furnace filters tend to last a bit longer than normal. The manufacturer recommends changing their filters every 6 to 12 months.
A credit towards your air filter purchase of up to $30 will be applied to your dryer vent cleaning bill. Available to Southeast Florida residents only. This is what most manufacturers recommend on their packaging. But should the furnace filter be changed as often during a “cold” South Carolina winter as during a subzero Minnesota winter?
In the summer, the situation would change. The filter in choked SC will become dirtier faster than the filter in soft MN.
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A furnace filter should be changed whenever necessary. And climate is only one factor that determines how long a furnace filter lasts.
This FAQ guide – How often should you change your furnace filter – gives clear advice on:
Here is a US Hardiness Zone map that is very helpful for many of our HVAC guides and informative articles. It shows 10 temperature zones based on the lowest temperatures reached during an average winter.
The conclusion is clear – the more the furnace or air handler works, the faster it will become dirty and clogged. This means
Is It Time To Replace Your Furnace?
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