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How Often Does My AC Filter Need To Be Replaced?

How often do you need to change your AC filter? Are reusable air conditioner filters worth the cost? Here’s what the professionals say.

One of the most important parts of your air conditioner is also one of the least-talked about: The AC filter. This tool is imperative to the health and longevity of your unit. Whether you already change yours regularly, you’re vaguely aware that it exists, or this is all news to you, it pays to read up on how to maintain a clean air conditioner filter. There are plenty of reasons to care about this simple, relatively inexpensive piece of equipment, and we’ll outline them all in the article that follows. Your wellness and the long-term efficiency of your AC unit depend on it!

Should Replacing My AC Filter Be A Part Of My Maintenance Plan?

Yes; caring for your AC filter should definitely be a part of your maintenance plan. And yes, you should be doing it at minimum once a year. The first thing that happens to air upon entering your central AC unit is that it passes through a filter. Foreign objects and particles, such as pet fur and dander, dust, mold spores, and more are trapped in the filter, while the clean air continues on to be cooled and dispersed throughout your house. Without the filter, you’re only cooling air, not conditioning it. But whether you replace the filter, or clean and reuse it is up for debate; we’ll cover reusable air filters in a bit. First, here’s why it is so important to maintain a clean air filter.

Clean Air Conditioner Filters Are Better For Your Health

We use air filters in many different applications; even your car has one that should be changed regularly. A clean AC filter is one of the most important tools for good respiratory health. We spend so much time in our home spaces — and in the wake of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, many of us live, play, and work at home. So it’s crucial to maintain optimal air quality. Those who suffer from respiratory issues, such as asthma or COPD should be especially mindful of regular air filter maintenance. Seasonal allergy sufferers will likely see a big improvement in symptoms if the filter is changed regularly, and more frequently during high-volume times, such as spring pollen season.

Clean AC Filters Help Your Unit Run Efficiently

A clogged air filter isn’t just bad for your health; it’s also harmful to the actual air conditioner. Dirty filters mean that the air conditioner has to work harder to condition and purify the air, which will result in slower cooling times, potential machine damage, and of course, a higher energy bill.

How Often Should I Replace My AC Filter?

A clean air filter is a happy air filter. But how often do you really need to change it? It depends. Filters come in a variety of thicknesses and materials; how you care for them is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Thinner air filters should be changed with greater frequency; a 1” filter should be swapped out every 1-3 months. Thicker filters, or filters with more pleating and folds (also known as high efficiency filters), should be changed once or twice a year.

No matter what size or material you choose, setting a recurring calendar alert is a smart way to remind yourself to complete the chore. There are a few times you may need to veer from the schedule: In times of increased pet and human traffic at home, consider changing your filter more regularly. Also, if you notice the unit not functioning properly and determine the culprit is a dirty filter, change it — even if it’s “ahead” of schedule.

What’s the Deal with Reusable Air Conditioner Filters?

Are reusable AC filters worth the money? Although they cost more than disposable air filters, they require a one-time purchase. Washable filters are made from electrostatic fabric, and can be washed by hand in a sink, rather than thrown away and replaced. They’re also eco-friendly, resulting in less landfill over time.

There are two important considerations to note if you’re considering buying a permanent AC filter. First, it must be completely dry before placing back in the air conditioner. This means that you can’t use your AC while it dries. You may choose to invest in two washable filters for this reason. Put a wet or damp filter back in, and you risk machine damage and mold.

Second, some users feel they don’t filter small particles, such as smoke and bacteria, as well as single-use air conditioner filters. This is a hotly (sorry for the pun) contested issue, and it’s best to chat with your HVAC professional about your personal needs and concerns before making a decision.

Do you have more questions about AC filters? Are you ready to invest in cleaner, cooler air? Contact Blanton’s Air in Fayetteville, North Carolina today!