When Should You Replace Your HVAC Air Filter?

Air Filters in San Antonio, TX

Your HVAC filters pull allergens and other contaminants from the air before they can circulate and impact your air quality. They’re also vital in preserving your HVAC system’s efficiency. If you leave your filter in place for too long, it can put excessive strain on the system and impede airflow. This will make it harder for your furnace or air conditioner to get the air it needs to maintain effective temperature control. Keep reading this guide to determine the best filter replacement schedule for your household.

Filter Type

Every type of filter comes with manufacturer guidelines on their maximum useful lifespan. The most commonly used types are fiberglass air filters and pleated air filters. Fiberglass options are more affordable, but they won’t be able to remove as many particles from the air. They should generally be changed out every month. Pleated air filters are more expensive and can last up to 90 days. They’re more efficient at trapping particulates like dust, hair, pollen and lint. If you struggle to remember to buy new filters, consider signing up for a subscription service that will periodically deliver more filters on a routine schedule.

Outdoor Air Quality

Your local air quality can play a huge role in how fast your filter gets dirty. If you live in or close to a city, your filter will quickly fill up with dust, smoke and other debris. Some areas are even affected by wildfire smoke, which will quickly eat through your filters. Those in suburban or rural environments are less likely to struggle with smog and car pollution, lessening the impact on their filters. You should monitor the outdoor air quality index in your area to be more aware of how your filters may be impacted.

Allergy Concerns

Investing in better air filters can help to alleviate allergy symptoms inside the home. You should also replace them more frequently to remove the pet dander, pollen and dust before it reaches your living spaces. Excessive allergens can worsen your sneezing, coughing, fatigue and irritated sinuses. Children and those who are sick or immunocompromised are especially susceptible to poor indoor air quality.


Millions of people in the United States live with furry animal companions. Unfortunately, dogs, cats and other pets will impact your air quality by releasing huge amounts of dander and hair on your carpets and furniture. They’ll also track in harmful contaminants from outside like mold, dirt, insects and pollen. If you live with any pets, no matter the size or breed, you should more regularly change your filters and opt for more durable options like pleated filters.

Season Changes

When you need to change your filter relies heavily on how frequently your HVAC system is kicking on. During the spring and fall, for example, you won’t need as much heating or cooling, reducing the time between filter replacements. Reliable climate control is essential during extreme seasons like summer and winter.

A decrease in HVAC usage can also cause a drop in indoor air quality. Keeping your windows open will let in more contaminants, worsening your allergies and comfort. To combat this, consider turning your thermostat from the AUTO setting to the ON setting, so the fan can cycle the air through the filter. This process will slightly increase your monthly energy consumption, but it won’t turn on your heating or cooling system.

Size of Household

The more people in your household, the more often you’ll need to switch your filters. A vacation home doesn’t need as many filter replacements as a two-story residential house with constant residents. If you live with no pets in an area with good air quality, you’ll likely have no issue following the air filter’s manufacturer’s guidelines. On the other hand, if you live with several other people, you may need to adjust how often you change your filters. You’ll find that an air filter designed for up to three months may only last one or two in a larger household.

Reliable Heating and Cooling Team

Rosenberg Plumbing & Air offers exceptional indoor comfort services in San Antonio, TX. Since 2003, we’ve maintained the best standards in customer care, craftsmanship and HVAC service. Count on our highly-skilled team to repair, maintain, or install your heating and cooling system. We’re also ready to take care of your air quality needs and ductwork concerns. Contact Rosenberg Plumbing & Air today to learn more about our 24/7 emergency repair service.