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Cats and Air Filters, An Odd Couple

July 9th, 2018

You graduated college six years ago, you’ve been a bridesmaid five times, and recently you just got your seventh cat. So, naturally, what’s on your mind is how often you change your home air filters. Okay, probably not. Most likely your focus is on how to get your mom to stop trying to set you up with her friend’s “very nice” son, Ira. You’ve met Ira-- let’s just say he’s not your height. TYPE. He’s not your type.

Fast forward to another productive Saturday afternoon, filled with errands, brunch with your sweet mother, and self-care (Ben & Jerry’s). As your mom walks around your house with her typical judgemental eye, she runs her finger all the way down your 6-foot, and maybe a tiny bit fuzzy, mantle. “Sweetie, when’s the last time you changed your air filter?” You pause, like a deer caught in headlights, “Ummmmmmmm.” Damn, she’s done it again. As a capable and competent woman, you should probably know the answer to that question. So, you give yourself a Sunday morning Google research project.

Come to find out, frequency of air filter changes heavily depends on the activity and conditions in your home. Allergen filters are ideally changed every 2 to 3 months. If your home has pets or children (same thing, right?) or people with allergies, replacing those filters at 1 to 2 months is best. There are a few guidelines you can follow to keep your mother off your back, about this at least. We can’t do anything about Ira.

  1. You’ll want to change your filters every 6 to 12 months if you own a vacation home, or live alone without pets or allergies.
  2. The “typical” American home, without pets or allergies, will want to switch their filters out every 90 days.
  3. If you’re lucky enough to be accompanied by some furry friends in your home, every 60 days is best.
  4. Change them out every 20-45 days if you are a “pets are better than people” person and have multiple fury friends under your roof. This is especially true if you are allergy prone.

Of course, as with any topic you dive into on Google, you will learn more than you ever knew possible. And air filters are no exception! For instance, you should do some quick home investigation into how many filters are in your home. Simple to find out; but it has important implications.

If you only have one filter, it has a big job. It’s responsible for capturing all the bad stuff in your home. So, you'll need to change it more often, especially if you have a superallergen filter (more on this technical term below).

Where you live can be a game changer too. If you live in a city or an area that has a lot of dust in the air, then you'll want to change them more often. Meanwhile, living in the South means your air conditioning is running more in the summer. So, you should change them more often.

Finally, and most importantly, you must consider what quality filters you are using. There are some easy ways to tell the different types apart. But, most pet owners and people who suffer from allergies are going to want to go all in with the SuperAllergen filters. The downside: They need to be changed more often, because they capture more, especially if you only have one filter in your home. The upside, your lungs and your fur-babies will be healthier and happier!

Now, go impress your mother with all your new, clean air knowledge!