One of the most neglected parts of an HVAC system is the air filter, but it is an integral part of your system’s overall well-being.
Changing your air conditioner’s filter is one of the simplest ways to maintain your appliance yourself and ensure it will run efficiently for years to come.
Although the universal rule is generally to change the filter about once every month, there are some instances when this might not be the most efficient option.
When to Change Your Air Conditioner’s Air Filter
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend changing your air conditioner’s filter every month, but people often stretch this time which can cause a variety of issues. Although once a month is the standard rule, there may be other factors that could influence how often you change the filter.
Pets: If you have dogs or cats, for example, you might want to consider changing the filter more than once a month. Because pets can track in dirt, dust, and any surprises they might find outside. They can cause a huge decrease in air quality pretty quickly.
Allergies: Another factor to consider is if you or a loved one has allergies. People who suffer from allergies rely on proper air quality which could be jeopardized if you don’t change the filter as often as you should. Individuals with allergies should consider changing air filters more frequently.
Vacation homes: If you have a vacation home or a home that isn’t occupied the majority of the time, you won’t need to change the air filter as frequently.
Why It’s Important to Change Your Air Filter
Think of your air filter as a little piece of the big puzzle that is your entire HVAC system. While it may be small, it plays a crucial role in the overall performance of your AC.
First and foremost, the air filter works to keep pollution and debris out of your home’s AC system. This ensures that your system is working efficiently and is providing you the best air possible.
A dirty filter will not be able to properly fight against pollution and debris and will make the rest of your system work harder as a result—this could mean dirtier air and a higher energy bill for you, and no one wants that.
Your air filter gets dirty relatively quickly. Pollen, dust, and other pollutants that are filtered out become stuck in the filter as your system runs. Because of this, you need to change your air filter about once a month.
Neglecting your air filters can lead to some nasty consequences for your home, such as:
HVAC System Failure. Not changing air filters is one of the top causes of broken air conditioners. When your filter is dirty, air cannot flow freely throughout your home. This blockage strains your system, which can cause it to overheat and eventually break down.
Polluted Air. If your air filter is dirty, it cannot properly filter out pollutants from entering your home. This means poor air quality for you and your family. Dirty air is especially dangerous for those with allergies or asthma.
Expensive Energy Bills. If your air filter is dirty, your air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home, consuming extra energy. This can lead to higher energy bills.
Reduced Comfort. Cool air has a harder time circulating through your home when your air filters are dirty. When this happens, your home has a harder time cooling down indoor air, and your system may never reach your desired temperature.
How to Change Your AC Filter
Changing your air filter is an easy, five-minute process. Doing this simple task can greatly improve your home’s comfort. Follow these simple instructions to properly change your filter.
Step 1. Buy a new filter. Before you buy a filter, be sure to measure your vent to know what size you will need. Filters come in different sizes, so make sure you buy the right one for your vent. Filters are generally sold in packs and cost between $4-$20 a piece, depending on the quality and size of the filter.
Step 2. Turn off your unit. As you change the filter, there will be nothing preventing debris and dust from flying in your face. Switch off your unit before you begin.
Step 3. Discard the old filter. You should be able to easily remove the old filter. As you take it out, you’ll notice all the nasty dirt and pollutants stuck inside. You’ll see first-hand why changing your filter is necessary.
Step 4. Place in the new filter. Slide the new filter into place. If you’re not sure which way it goes, there should be arrows on the filter itself that can guide you.