How Often Should You Clean or Replace Air Filters?

When was the last time you changed your air filters? While this task is rarely on most people’s To Do list, it’s as essential as paying your power bill. This is because failing to do so will cause a long list of preventable issues and reduces the lifespan of your AC.

Air Conditioner Basics

An air conditioner works by absorbing the warm air in your home. The humidity condensates on the coils inside the unit. Water from the condensation drips into a drip pan, and is syphoned out of your home through the condensate line.

When you don’t change your air filters regularly, they eventually become caked with dust. This significantly blocks airflow, which results in the following problems:

1. Condensation from the humidity freezes on the AC coils.
2. The air conditioner stops blowing cold air.
3. The AC works harder trying to reach the temperature set on your thermostat.
4. All the extra work causes your power bill to go up.

How often should you change your AC filters?

There are many factors that come into play when deciding how often to change your air filters. Below is a list of things to consider:

1. Do you live alone? A person who lives on their will need to change the air filters less frequently than a family of four.

2. Do you have any pets? Be it dogs, cats, ferrets, bunnies… anything that sheds hair and dander will cause the filters to clog much faster.

3. Is anyone in your household suffering from respiratory issues? Whether it’s asthma or allergies, airborne dust particles will exacerbate the issue. If this applies to your household, change the filters at least once a month. We also recommend purchasing HEPA filters, since they trap the highest amount of dust particles and allergens.

4. Are there any smokers in your home? The negative impacts of secondhand smoke are well documented. In addition to the many illnesses it can cause, add diminished air quality and dirty air filters to the list.

5. Did you buy cheap air filters? This factor isn’t included to sound judgy, but the lower the quality of the filter, the more often you’ll have to change it (costing you more money long-term). As a general rule, always note the filter’s MERV ratings. The acronym stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, it ranges from 1 to 20. The higher the number, the better quality the filter.

Difference Between Washable and Replaceable AC Filters

Before we get started on the difference, remember to always shut off power to your AC before working on it. In addition to turning it off, we suggest switching off the power breaker as well.

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s important to point out that there are air filters that, while they are not technically “washable”, you can still remove them, vacuum the dust, and reinstall them.

If the brand you purchase is washable, all you have to do is place it under running water for several minutes. Once the dust is off the filter, let it air dry for a minimum of 24 hours before reinstalling it. Not allowing it to dry properly could cause mold and mildew to grow in your home.

While washable/cleanable versions may save you a couple of trips to the store, they have a lower MERV rating and do not filter pet hair, dander, soot, or allergens. So if your circumstances require a filter that will take care of these issues, you’re better off purchasing replaceable filters.

AC Service in Brevard County

At Colman, we understand that sometimes, AC issues happen during the most inconvenient times. This is why we have a 24/7 AC emergency line. Call us if you need assistance ASAP or to schedule routine HVAC maintenance to prevent issues during the summer.

24-HR Emergency Service (321) 269-4565

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