Five Reasons Your Air Filter Isn’t Lasting Very Long

September 23, 2021

Every HVAC system depends on an air filter for a number of reasons. Air filters are critical for keeping dust and debris out of important components, thus allowing them to do their job efficiently and without the added strain of additional wear and tear. Air filters also prevent other problems like frozen air conditioners, overheated furnaces, and so many other things. In fact, the overwhelming majority of problems with an HVAC system can be traced back in some way to a dirty air filter. This is why it’s so important to change your air filter periodically.

However, you might have noticed that you seem to be changing your air filter far more frequently than you need to. Whereas your friends and neighbors may be able to go four or five months between filter changes, you might need to do it every two to three months, or even every single month in some rare cases. Is there something wrong with your HVAC system? Why are you spending so much more time and money keeping your air filter clean and in good condition? This blog will explain it and help you make a few changes that could help extend the life of your HVAC air filter.


Pets are valuable members of the family. They provide company, companionship, and friendship for everyone from the youngest children to the oldest of seniors. They are a great source of entertainment, purpose, and joy for so many people. That’s why so many homes have more than one pet. However, while dogs, cats, and even rodents might be a wonderful addition to our homes, they do come with at least one downside: added wear on your HVAC air filter.

When animals shed, the pet dander, loose hair, and even dust mites that live in their fur float through the air. In many cases, this debris is sucked into your return vent, where it then gets caught in your air filter. This clogs up your filter, causing you to have to replace it more often.

Indoor Smoking

Smoke particles are a huge reason for both indoor odors and for increased use of your air filter. Smoke particles quickly fill up an air filter, causing it to become dirty, dusty, and packed with odors that can quickly spread throughout your home. Not to mention the particles that do manage to get through your air filter can then become lodged in your air ducts, making it extraordinarily difficult to get rid of the smell for a long time to come.

Running the Fan

When you look at your thermostat, you have probably noticed that your fan has two settings: “run” and “on.” When set to “run,” the fan will run only when your furnace or air conditioner is running as well. When set to “on” the fan will run constantly, including when your cooling or heating system isn’t necessarily running. This can be great if you want a little bit of extra airflow in your home, but it does cause a near-constant stream of air to travel through your air filter. And the more air goes through your filter, the faster the filter will reach its cleaning capacity. If you need air flow but want to increase filter life, try swapping out running your fan for a ceiling fan in key rooms of your home or even a few stand fans that you can place strategically.

Infrequent Cleaning & Dusting

Keeping your home clean actually has a serious impact on your air filter. The more often you dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, and polish various surfaces of your home, the longer your air filter will last. While it’s pretty much impossible to remove all dust particles from your home, regular cleaning does remove the majority of them, and they won’t be able to get jammed in your air filter if they are properly removed.

You don’t have to do a deep cleaning every week, either. However, some strategic approaches to cleaning will go a long way. For example, regularly vacuuming carpets in high traffic areas will remove a lot of dust tracked in on the bottoms of your shoes, but that dust isn’t likely to get caught in your fabric curtains. Thus, these areas probably only need to be cleaned every few months.

Dirty Air Ducts

Finally, the mess might not be in an area you can easily see. Dirty air ducts release a lot of dust into the air that swirls throughout your home, and in turn that dust ends up back in your air filter through the air return vent. If your air filter never seems to last, your air ducts might be the problem. Having them professionally cleaned should greatly increase your air filter’s lifespan and even notably improve your indoor air quality as well.

If you’re struggling with poor indoor air quality, Winters® Home Services has the answer you’re looking for! Pick up the phone and give us a call today at 617-221-5899.