How Often Should You Replace Your AC Filter? An Honest Answer

“How often should I replace my AC filter?” This is the single most common question most HVAC companies get.

AC filterUnfortunately, it’s also the hardest to answer. Multiple factors affect how often you should replace your air conditioning filter, and there is no one-size-fits –all approach. But here’s what we do know: the more frequently you change your filter, the more efficiently your air conditioner will run.

Read on for some things to consider when creating a schedule for changing your AC filter…

How Big Is Your Home?

Think about it. The smaller the home, the less air the AC system circulates. There’s not as much air moving around in six rooms as there would be in sixteen rooms. The bigger the house, the more air is forced through the filters. The more air forced through the filters, the more dirt gets captured. The dirtier the filter, the more often it needs to be changed. As such, someone in a 1400 square foot house needs to change filters less often than someone in a 3000 square foot home.

Are Health Issues a Concern?

Good air quality is especially important to people with pre-existing respiratory conditions. Do you have allergies? Does someone in your home have asthma? If anyone in your home has a condition that affects their lungs and their breathing, change your filters more often. The more dirt, debris, and germs that can be filtered out of the air, the better your family members will breathe!

Where Do You Live?

Where you live can affect how often you need to replace your air conditioning filters. City dwellers who face smog and air pollution should change filters more often than those who live in a rural areas that tend to be free from air quality issues. However, just because you live in a smaller town or rural area doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention to your surroundings. Harvesting crops can increase the amount of dust, pollen, or agricultural residue in the air and may necessitate changing filters more often during certain seasons. Windstorms that blow dust and dirt can also affect air quality. Wildfires, even when they are states away, can also create harmful particles that need to be filtered out.

Are You a Pet Owner?

pet hair filterWe love our animals. But most dogs and cats, with the exception of a few rare breeds, DO shed, and even one dog can put a huge amount of hair and dander into the air. If you have one furred pet, you need to change your AC filter more than if you had no pets. If you have multiple hairy pets, you need to change your filter more than if you had just one.

You know how when you vacuum, your vacuum bag fills up with hair? Well, your vacuum doesn’t catch it all. Lots of that hair goes airborne and gets pushed through your air conditioning filters, clogging it up quickly.

How Often Does Your System Run?

If you like having open windows, you might opt to turn off the air on a cool night, or in winter, you might not use your system much at all. Most of us in Arizona run our systems pretty much full-time nine months of the year, so we have to replace our filters more than people in more temperate climates who don’t run their systems all the time.

What Type Of Filters Do You Use?

AC filters can be made of various materials. Fiberglass filters, for example, are usually flat, thin, single layer filters that must be changed every 30 days. Pleated air filters are made of heavier, higher-quality materials. They are thicker and denser with pleated screens. The pleats create additional surface area that can attract and trap more dirt, making them last longer than the flat fiberglass filters.

Your system will work best if you utilize the filters made specifically by the manufacturer for your unit.

How Often You Should Replace Your AC Filter

Lots of different factors affect how often you need to change your filter, but you can’t go wrong by scheduling systematic, routine filter changes. For the best performance and optimal efficiency of your air conditioning system, change your filters every 30-45 days – a schedule that accounts for all factors of size, location, health, pets, and the use of your system.

Mark your calendar! We recommend that when you change your filter, you write the date on the frame so you know exactly when you did it. Another great technique is to change your filter the day your utility bill arrives every month so your routine is consistent. Connecting your filter change to your power bill makes sense because clean filters improve the efficiency of your AC system and lower your electric bill.

For questions about maintenance, quotes on new equipment, or scheduling of a service call, contact us at Martin Air. Your comfort is our top priority!

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