How Often Should I Change My Filter?

Changing the filter for your heating and air conditioning system is one of the most helpful things a homeowner can do to ensure their equipment runs properly between tune-ups. Not only does this simple action help keep indoor air cleaner, but it’s critical to the proper performance of most HVAC equipment. (Read about the importance of changing air filters here) Now—since replacing a filter isn’t too high on the difficulty scale—the only trouble is knowing how often one should be changed, and remembering to actually do it.


The general rule for filter replacement is simple—when it’s dirty, change it—but exactly how often it will need to be changed can depend on several things:

·       The overall air quality in your city

·       Pets- Do you have one?

·       The number of people you live with

·       Type of filter your A/C requires

Speaking (very) generally, 1”-3” air filters should be changed monthly and 4” filters should be switched out annually (Simmons Heating & Cooling in Chesapeake installs 4" filters as a standard), but general guidelines don’t apply to everyone! For example, if you suffer from allergies, you would probably need to replace your filter more often or even upgrade the air filter, and if you own pets, shed hair can cause filters to clog quickly. On the other hand, if you live in the country or own a summer home that you only visit once a year, replacing your air filters every six months may be more than enough.

Though there is no set rule on how frequently one should change their heating and air conditioning filter (due to differences in location, health and air pollution), the following summary should be a helpful tool in setting up your filter changing schedule.


·       Seldom used, single occupant without pets, or remote location homes: Change every 4-12 months

·       Typical suburban home without pets: Change every 6 months

·       Typical suburban home with pet: Change every 4 months

·       Multiple pets or allergies: Change every month (or as needed)

·       In an area with a high level of air pollution, or construction nearby (Think Norfolk coal dust): Change every 4-6weeks

And as always, if you’re in the Hampton Roads area and you’re just not sure when your filter needs to be changed or you want someone to look at your heating and air conditioning system, contact Simmons Heating and Cooling in Chesapeake today!

Breathe Happy,