Is It Time to Change Furnace Filters?

Posted by Michelle Eld on 21st Feb 2017

How Do You Know it’s Time to Change Your Furnace Filters?

From weird noises to higher energy bills, there are some telltale signs that you forgot to change your furnace filter. While it’s best to mark it on your calendar or invest in a smart phone app to remind you of the date to change them, this task can slip the mind of even the best of us. The average furnace has a life span of up to 20 years, but in that time, you’ll change your filters an average of 80 times if you figure four filters a year.

Knowing when to change your furnace isn’t cut and dried. A good start is to look at the manufacturer recommendation on the label. Some suggest changing them every two months while others say you can get up to four months out of them. But sometimes your filters get dirty sooner than that. This can depend on many factors, such as:

  • Type of filter your furnace requires
  • Air quality of your city and neighborhood
  • Whether you have pets and what kind: birds, cats, dogs, hamsters, etc.
  • Number of occupants in the house
  • Any construction taking place nearby
  • Allergies or asthma conditions of people in the home

Anything from excessive pet dander to the prevalence of asthma in your children can require you to change your air filters more frequently than OEM specifications. Other times, you can push the limits, such as when you own a vacation home in a remote area and you visit only once in a while as your country cottage, or if you live out in the country where there aren’t a lot of cars on the roadways.

How Do You Know it’s Time to Change Your Furnace Filters?

If you have pets that shed, especially dog and cat breeds that shed in abundance, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll need to change out your filters more often because all that pet hair clogs filters fast. Here’s a general guideline for changing your filters:

  • Seldom-used home or single-occupant homes without pets or allergies: every 6 months
  • Typical home without pets: every three months
  • Typical home with dog or cat: every two months
  • Multiple pets or occupants with allergies, sensitivities or asthma: every 30-45 days

The depth of the filters in inches also comes into play:

  • One-inch thick filters last between one and three months
  • Two-inch thick filters last between two and four months
  • Four-inch thick filters and higher last between three and six months

Sometimes you’re on a pretty regular schedule for changing filters and then you start seeing some signs that you need to increase your changing frequency, such as an increasingly inefficient HVAC system, excessively dusty home, uneven heat distribution, or rising energy bills. This could also mean your furnace is on the fritz or needs maintenance, so always get your furnace inspected every fall before using it for the winter.

Now’s the time to take a look at your stash of furnace filters. Are you running low? You can enjoy FREE shipping when you order with us and select Canada Post.