13 May 2020

How Often Do I Need to Replace My AC Filter?

There are many variables to consider when determining how often to replace your air conditioning filter. Location is one of those variables. If your air conditioning unit is in your vacation home in the Alps that you only visit during the winter, you likely won’t be using your AC as much as you do living the rest of the year in the Phoenix area.

Other variables will include age, type, and size of the air conditioning system and the number of pets?

There is no one size fits all time frame for changing your filter. The best thing you can do is learn all you can about your air conditioner and use that information to help you make a decision. Let’s start with the basics.

What Is An AC Filter?

Air conditioner filters can be spun fiberglass, cloth, or paper. Advice on which filter is best for your AC system should come from your local Phoenix-based HVAC professional. Plus, your AC manufacturer will make a recommendation.

The purpose of the air filter is to clean the air that flows through your HVAC system.

You may think your air is clean without the filter, but you can’t always see the smoke, pollen, dust, or grease that form in small particles and float through your air. You don’t see it, that is until you check the filter. Then you wonder where all that “stuff” came from, and you’re thankful the filter was doing its job.

What Happens When the AC Filter is Dirty?

It doesn’t take long for an AC filter to get full of contaminants. The dirtier the air filter, the more restricted airflow will be. When airflow is restricted from leaving the AC, it can build up inside the system. This will lower its internal temperature, and you will start to see ice on the coils of the AC. When you hear people say their AC is frozen, this is why.

Another problem you may see when the AC filter is dirty is short-cycling. This is when the AC starts and stops more often than it should. You may notice the air in your space is not cooling evenly. Some parts of a room may be perfectly cooled, while other parts are too warm.

The trickle effect of these dirty AC filter problems leads to higher utility bills and a rise in allergy reactions among people using the AC.

Signs It’s Time To Change the AC Filter

If you are having problems like the ones listed below, it’s already time to call an HVAC expert to help you fix the problem.

There are things you can look for regularly that can help prevent your AC from short-cycling and freezing. These are easy, basic maintenance tasks that will extend the life of your air conditioner.

Look at your filter. I know it sounds too simple. But visually inspecting it can tell you if it’s time to replace it. A dirty filter can look gray or brown when dirty. That is because it is covered in pet hair, dust, dirt, and other pollutants.

If you start asking yourself, “why is this house so much dustier lately,” it could be time to change the AC filter. If the dust can’t go into the filter because it is already full, it will find other places to land.

You may also notice your AC is just not acting normal. You become accustomed to the sounds and behaviors of your AC system over time. They become almost like habits. So when anything sounds or feels “off,” you notice. Being able to discern differences like this is a good thing, and it can trigger you to check your filter and the other basic troubleshooting tasks or to call for help from a professional, like the ones at AZ Perfect Comfort.

How Can an Expert Help With Your AC Filter?

You may not think keeping the air filter changed is one task in which you don’t need help. And for the most part, you are right. However, there are things a local HVAC technician can do to help you with your AC filters.

In one meeting, they can help you feel more confident as a homeowner, starting with changing filters. The more you know, the less you must ask for help. HVAC pros can teach you the manufacturer’s recommendations for both the screen and time frame for replacing them. They can show you the difference between filters and tell you which one will best support your home’s environment.

Research has shown that maintenance, like changing AC filters, extends the life of your air conditioner. Working with a local HVAC company can give you the most effective AC maintenance tips.