How Long Do Permanent Furnace Filters Last?

Learn how long permanent furnace filters last from HVAC professionals advice. Understand advantages & disadvantages of washable & disposable furnace filters.

How Long Do Permanent Furnace Filters Last?

When it comes to furnace filters, HVAC professionals recommend replacing them every one to three months. However, many people have had washable filters of this type for more than ten years. The only reason you'll need to replace it is if you find a better one or if you decide to do so. Of course, normal wear and tear will occur over time.

Most washable filters last at least ten years, so it's important to take good care of them when washing. Many come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. Depending on your lifestyle and the type of filter you choose, you may want to change it more often. Filter manufacturers usually provide recommendations on how often their products should be replaced.

As a general rule, most filters need to be changed every 3 to 6 months. Thicker filters can last longer than thinner ones. Here's a rough estimate of how long one can last, based on its thickness: three- and four-inch filters can last between six and nine months; a five- to six-inch filter can give you between nine and 12 months of filter action. However, these months could be shortened, especially during spring when pollen and other air pollutants are more invasive.

No two houses are the same, so despite guidelines, you may need to change your furnace filter more often than your neighbor. It's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of washable HVAC filters and how they compare to disposable ones. If the filter has not dried completely when you put it back in the system, it can create an environment for biological growth which is then forced through the air ducts. The amount of time they last depends on the type of filter you have, and there are some such as HEPA filters that can last longer than others.

One of the main factors that lead homeowners to consider a washable air filter is that reusable filters are more environmentally friendly. If your furniture fills with dust soon after cleaning the house, the oven filter could be clogged and no longer effectively remove dust from the air. You don't need any special equipment or chemicals to clean the filter. Washable air filters can last five to 10 years or longer, and some manufacturers claim that they can outlive your HVAC system. Allergy sufferers may want to wash the filter more often than once a month, finding that their allergy symptoms improve.

Lower-efficiency air filters are able to filter larger dust and soot particles but lose smaller particles. If you're willing to put in the effort to keep it clean, reduce your impact on the environment, and don't mind spending a little more now to save later, a washable oven filter may be what you need. That's pretty good but this level of efficiency also forces you to change these filters more frequently; however, you can check the label with your HVAC professional to make sure. I checked my filter recently and found that it was covered with dust so I replaced it with a new one and now the indoor air is much fresher. Washable air filters don't have a great reputation for their air purification performance and have an average MERV rating between 1 and 4.Disposable air filters are much more efficient at trapping the smallest particles and their MERV ratings can be as high as 16.