There’s a fairly common misconception when it comes to air filters—at least, air filters that come standard with air conditioners and forced-air heaters. Homeowners often assume they’re in place to protect their indoor air quality. In reality, they’re there to protect the interior components of the HVAC system from dirt, dust, and other debris that can get inside and damage the components.
In other words, your air conditioner’s air filter is there to keep the actual air conditioner clean, not to keep the air clean. Read on to learn more!
How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?
This is the question we’re most often met with from homeowners, when we tell them that their air filter needs to be changed. The thing is, your HVAC air filter gets clogged up with the dust and debris we mentioned above, and then it restricts airflow going into the system. When this airflow is restricted, it restricts the airflow going out as well.
As a result, not only will your air conditioner fail to keep you as comfortable as you expect, but it will run longer to try–unsuccessfully–to reach the desired temperature setting you have on your thermostat, exacerbating wear and tear and potentially even shortening the lifespan of your system.
The frequency of changing the filter depends on:
- The kind of air conditioner you have (central, heat pump, ductless, etc.)
- The type of air filter it is (pleated, fabric, mesh, etc.)
- How often you use your air conditioner.
- The number of people in your home.
- The level of contaminants in your home (dust is common, as well as household cleaning fumes. Pet dander and cigarette smoke may require you to check the air filter more frequently).
We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about your air conditioner’s air filter. Generally speaking, you should change it every 1-3 months during periods of system use. This includes your heating system use, since forced-air AC and heating systems utilize the same air filter.
When in Doubt, Call a Pro
Now that you understand the basics surrounding your air conditioner’s filter, you should be good to go! However, if you’re new to central air conditioning, we totally understand if you still have questions about best practices when it comes to effectively and efficiently utilizing your air conditioner. You can contact the pros on our team today, and trust that you’ll get the type of service you can trust and that will take your air conditioning use to the next level.
Changing your air filter on a regular basis keeps your HVAC systems working as they should, prevents problems like ice development and reduced airflow, and can even boost the lifespan of your air conditioner (and your heater).
And don’t forget to schedule routine tune-ups for your HVAC systems, too! Your air conditioner and heater should receive maintenance at least once a year, each (which means if you have a heat pump, you should schedule maintenance twice a year).