How and When to Change Household Air Filters

Air Filter

When and How to Change an Air Filter

One of the simplest ways to improve or maintain the air quality in your home is by taking care of your HVAC system. Learning how to change a house air filter saves you money on duct cleaning and can even reduce asthma and allergies.

Make replacing your HVAC air filter every three months a part of your regular home maintenance chores with our guide on how to switch your filters.

How Do I Know How Often to Change an Air Filter in My House? 

Most standard filters need to be changed once every three months. However, other factors affect how often you’ll need a replacement, including:

  • The MERV rating and density of your filter
  • The size of your home and the number of people living there
  • Whether you have cats, dogs, or other shedding pets
  • Whether anyone in your home has allergies or asthma
  • If your home is a permanent residence or a vacation home

Single-person, no-pet households can often get away with only changing the air filter once every 6-12 months. Meanwhile, having a pet increases the frequency to once every two months. If someone in your house has allergies, you may need to change your filter as often as once every 20 days.

Where Is the Air Filter in My House?

You’re looking for your HVAC air handler, which is a fan and motor located in a large metal box. This is a part of your furnace or heater/air conditioner HVAC stack of equipment, often located in the basement or a maintenance closet. Once you find it, look for a slot between one and four inches with a metal cover that should swing aside or come off completely. Inside will be your system’s air filter.

If your house is large, check your vents for a second filter. You may find a larger square or rectangular return vent with a filter inside. They’re usually in the wall but can also be floor or ceiling vents.

How to Replace the Air Filter in My House

Now that you know where your air filter is, you can replace it easily. For cleaner air, simply:

  1. Get a replacement filter in the correct size and MERV rating. Often, the best option will match the specs of the existing filter you’re replacing. If you’d like to upgrade your air filtration or change your filter less frequently, look for an air filter with a higher density or MERV rating than the one currently in your system.
  2. Remove the dirty filter from the unit.
  3. Insert the new filter with any directional arrows pointing toward the unit. Your filter may have additional installation instructions on it.
  4. Place the old filter in the garbage, ideally outside the home.

Get Expert Services from One of the Best HVAC Companies in Austin, TX

At Precision Heating & Air, we know that healthy air leads to healthier, happier families. That’s why we’d love to help you create a filter-changing schedule that works for you, advise you on filter types, and handle any breakdowns in your HVAC system.

Contact our experts at 512-379-6385 or schedule service online to get started.

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