When is it Time to Replace Your AC Filter? - A Guide for Homeowners

Dust and dirt that accumulate around air conditioner vents may be caused by a clogged air filter. The filter looks dirty or clogged, and it takes longer to heat or cool the house. The most obvious sign that you need a new air filter is if the one you have is gray and dirty. It's important to take out the air filter and inspect it at least once every two months.

If it looks dusty or dirty, it's time to change it. The only way to know how often your air filter should be changed is to visually inspect the filter every month. After a few months, you'll get an idea of how quickly it gets dirty. You'll need to re-evaluate if you have a new pet or if the outdoor air quality has been poor.

A clogged filter interferes with the normal air flow of the air conditioning system, and it also allows dirt to accumulate in the cooling coils, which impairs the system's ability to keep you cool. A clean filter increases efficiency and reduces energy consumption by up to 15 percent. Be sure to replace them with air filters of the correct size and type. If your air conditioner was working properly, you can remove the filter and buy one that is identical to it.

If you have a “media filter”, you'll only need to change it every 6 to 8 months. They look like pleated filters, but they last longer. A vacation home where you only live part-time, for example, will need far fewer filter changes than a large family home with many occupants. All of these odor-causing contaminants will circulate around your home until the filter is replaced.

You should change them approximately every 90 days if you don't have allergies, but air conditioning professionals usually recommend them every 45 days for maximum efficiency. It is usually necessary to replace your home air filter once every one to six months, with an average of every three months. Call the manufacturer or your favorite expert technician to find out which is the “right” air filter for your air conditioning system. If you have allergies, you can reduce symptoms by using a high-quality air filter and adopting a more frequent replacement program.

When you buy a new air filter, you'll find the manufacturer's recommendations for the replacement program. In smaller homes, the air conditioning system has to move less air, which may mean that air filters are replaced less frequently. However, if that's not your style, make sure you know how to recognize when it's time for a change. When the temperature rises, Lighthouse Mechanical Heating and Cooling helps you stay cool with services that optimize your air conditioning system.

You'll find it easier to remember this important task if you learn how often you should replace your home AC filter in the first place. If you live alone, don't have pets, and the outdoor air around you is of good quality, then following the manufacturer's recommendations for changing the filter will probably work well for you. Just follow these three simple steps to improve the efficiency of your air conditioner by 5 to 15% by changing clogged filters: take out and inspect your filter at least once every two months; replace with an identical or media filter; and follow manufacturer's recommendations for changing frequency. Knowing when it's time to replace your AC filter can help keep your home comfortable while saving energy and money.

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