The One Homeownership Task I Completely Forgot About

Diary of a First Time Home Owner, How-To

I’ve been a homeowner for about a year and a half. Before this, I lived in apartments from 2004 to 2015. I give this context so that maybe you’ll understand the story I’m about to tell you…

How often do you need to change your air filters? Don't forget this important homeownership task!

Here is a real conversation that happened between J and I on Tuesday night.

Scene: J is adjusting something with the air filter in his house, while I am watching the Mariner’s game on his comfortable couch and TV that has cable.

Me: What are you doing?

Him: Adding air freshener to the air filter

Me: How often do you do that?

Him: (Says something I wasn’t totally listening to because I was watching the game, but then I also hear something like) when you change the filter.

Me: How often are you supposed to change those filters, anyway?

Him: (look of shock) Every three months.

Me: (silence)

Him: (look of shock now mixed with disgust) How often have you changed yours?

Me: … Never.

Him and his roommate: (Dual looks of disgust.)

The expressions were something like this, but without Neah Bay/Cape Flattery in the background.

You guys. I swear I am not a slob. I’ve just literally never had to change the air filter before. I’ve only ever lived in apartments in Washington that didn’t have central air or heat, or in Nevada where they put a note on your door to remind you it was time to change the filter, and someone came and changed it! Of course, when I lived with my parents as a child, they handled that sort of thing when it was necessary.

How to Change the Air Filter in Your House

On Wednesday night, I figured out what air filter size I needed. It’s written on the edge of your filter. I didn’t have to remove anything to see it through the grates. It will be three numbers, mine was 12 x 24 x 1.

On Thursday after work, I went to Home Depot and bought the air filter. Just so you guys know, they’re significantly more expensive than I expected! I figured it would be like $3.00. It’s just some paper and fabric or foam or something, right? Wrong. Anyway, it was $18.

There were four different “ratings.” Each rating has different protections ranging from dust to mold to allegedly killing germs in the air or preventing them from recirculating. I say allegedly because it doesn’t make sense to me that a filter can do that, but what do I know? I didn’t even know when to change it! The options were a 4, 7, 9 or 10 rating. I chose a 9.

How often do you need to change your air filters?

I came home, nervous about how to install it, read the directions, and literally like 60 seconds later the process was done. There’s a place you can write when to change it on the filter, I elected not to do that, but it’s a helpful option. That would have added like 15 seconds to the process.

So, change your air filters, folks. It doesn’t take long, it’s good for your air system and your lungs, and if none of that convinces you that it’s worth the $18, here’s a comparison photo to get your attention.

How often do you need to change your air filters?

Gross. I assure you that three months from now, I’ll be replacing this with a new one.

Also, please excuse the iPhone photos. I wasn’t putting my DSLR anywhere near that.

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  • Reply
    April 25, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Haha, I didn’t Change mine for a long time after buying my first house. My husband and I just had never thought about it until we had issues with the air conditioner and were told we needed to change it.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    This is such a great tip since my allergies can get really bad I wouldn’t want my son breathing in all the stuff from the filter!

  • Reply
    Casey Lyn
    April 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Hahaha! I can totally relate! It is something you just don’t really think about! My husband has owned homes before so he knew that it needed to be done. If it weren’t for him it would be years before I would have figured it out!
    Casey Lyn recently posted…Why MLM Companies Won’t Make You Rich!

  • Reply
    Cait Weingartner
    April 26, 2017 at 12:54 am

    This is a great tip, and I’m sure you’re not the only new home owner who didn’t give much thought to changing the air filter. Aside from the health benefits, this will ensure you’re system runs more efficiently too.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I don’t know if my mom just had me do it as a kid or what, but I always knew about changing the filter. And the previous owners of the house we bought left about ten, so we don’t even have to buy any for a while. It grosses me out too much, so I totally make Jarrod do it.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    I am right there with you. My husband has apparently taken care of this for us without me knowing (we have owned a house for 9 years). He recently asked me to pick one up at Home Depot and I had no idea what he was talking about. You are not alone!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Haha! This makes me feel much better!

  • Reply
    McKenzie Allyshia
    April 29, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Our vents are a little different but I try to vacuum them out once every few months. I can tell when they are getting gross because my allergies start acting up more. They can get so gross though ha ha!
    McKenzie Allyshia recently posted…tips for an amazing weekend

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