La Jolla Mom

How Often Should You Change Your Central Air Filter?

BY La Jolla Mom

There’s one place in our house that I’ve never been into: the attic. It’s huge, dark and despite hiring people over the years to clean it, it’s dirty. Our expensive, high-efficiency central heating and air system is up there. We’ve got an air conditioning guy who has been to the house on an annual basis to clean the ducts so I never really worried about changing our central air filter. However, in the blink of an eye, almost two years has passed since our air filter has been changed. Uh-oh.

According to Experts: Best Thing To Do Is Get An Air Filter, But Remember To Change It

The  United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends changing air filters every three months. However, in the moderate, year-round 70-degree average climate that is San Diego, most people don’t run their heating and air that often. A dirty air filter causes your system to work harder, negating any energy efficiency, and causes more overall stress. The EPA also says that the level of indoor pollutants is sometimes 2-5 times higher than outdoor levels.

Whoops. I guess we need to start climbing into the attic more often. How often you change your air filter depends on:

  • how often you run your heating and air.
  • if you have pets.
  • if you have allergies or other respiratory problems.
  • whether or not there is construction happening nearby.
  • if anyone smokes inside your house.
  • whether or not you live near an airport. Here in La Jolla, I am often cleaning jet fuel residue off my backyard glass fence, believe it or not.

The rule of thumb is to check to see if it’s dirty. If it is, change it. If not, let it go.

My Personal Challenge

I’ve signed on to try Filtrete Filters for the next year. If I’m going to crawl up into my freaking attic, I want to put the best possible option in there. We’re going to use the Filtrete Ultimate Allergy Reduction Filter, MPR 1900. It:

  • Ideal for allergen defense.
  • Helps capture up to 93% of large, airborne particles such as household dust, pollen, mold spores and dust mite debris from air passing through the filters.
  • Helps capture 4x more microscopic particles such as smoke, smog, pet dander and particles that carry bacteria and viruses, than ordinary pleated filters.
  • Costs $19.99 and sold at places like WalMart, Target, CostCo and Lowe’s. Find Filtrete near you.

I also have sinus problems so it doesn’t do me any good to blast unclean air around the house. In the meantime, I’m using the opportunity to make a study of indoor air, household cleaners, and more.


Major Giveaway: The Filtrete Healthy Home Remodel Contest

To help homeowners address indoor air concerns, Filtrete Brands, known for its air and water filtration products, has partnered with Mike Holmes, a renowned HGTV contractor, on the Filtrete Healthy Home Remodel Contest. One grand-prize winner, selected by Mike Holmes, will receive $30,000 worth of home inspections, repairs and renovations by a Holmes Group approved contractor. Four first prize winners will be awarded $5000 in cash to put toward home repairs. Enter from January 31, 2013 to June 30, 2013.

  • Visit You will be prompted to like the page before entering the contest.
  • Explain in 1000 words or less why your home is deserving of a healthier home remodel.
  • Submit up to two photos that support your essay.
  • For more details, view the official rules.

Next up, simple steps to take in order to clean up your indoor air aside from adding a good air filter. It’s easier than you think.

*Thanks to Filtrete for sponsoring this series of posts.

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2 thoughts on “How Often Should You Change Your Central Air Filter?

  1. good info!! I’m huge on changing filters regularly. None of us really have allergies that I’m yet aware of, but who wants a house full of dust or germs?

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