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On that never-ending to-do list for things around the house, changing your AC filter might not be anywhere near the top. The problem is, if you neglect this task for too long, your air conditioning won’t be functioning at its best. At the same time, this means you aren’t reaping the full benefits of having an air conditioning unit and the air quality in your home will also suffer as a result. But how often do you really need to change your AC filter? Further, what are some warning signs that it might be time to change it?

How Often Do You Need to Change Your AC Filter?

You’re about to find out! In today’s post, we’ll answer that big question: How often do I need to change my AC filter?” But we’ll also cover three tell-tale signs it’s past due for a replacement.

The truth is, the answer to how often you need to change your AC filter depends on a number of factors. That being said, we encourage you to replace it at least every 90 days, but every 45 days is ideal.

There are certain circumstances that could mean your filter needs changing more frequently.

These include:

  • If your air conditioner is in constant use
  • The size of your home
  • If you or your family members have allergies or other concerns
  • If you live in a particularly dusty environment
  • The type of filter in your HVAC unit
  • How many people live in your home
  • And of course, if you have pets who shed

How to Change Your AC Filter

Now, let’s talk about how to change your AC filter yourself. Please keep in mind, if you’re not comfortable performing this task yourself, the experts at AC Care Heat & Air in Stuart, Florida are always here to help!

In addition to changing the filter, don’t hesitate to contact an HVAC contractor if you aren’t comfortable performing any of the following tasks:

  • Ensuring the system switch is on the right heat or cool setting.
  • Checking your thermostat settings
  • Opening the return and supply vents and check to make they aren’t obstructed
  • Checking to ensure that the circuit breaks are all in the On position
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting the outdoor and indoor switches

As for how to change your AC filter on your own, the steps to follow will vary depending on the type of unit you have. 

In this post, we’re going to share steps for changing a central AC filter. But please note, these steps are a bit different for other styles but they all have filters that need cleaning and changing!

Changing a Disposable AC Filter

For your central air conditioner, follow these steps for replacing a disposable AC filter:

  • First things first: you need to find the AC filter that needs changing. You could have more than one depending on your HVAC system. For a central AC unit, you’ll typically find a return air filter on the outside of your home
  • Once you’ve found the filter, be sure to check that you get the correct size to replace it. Disposable air filters will typically have their dimensions and information listed on them so you know exactly what to replace it with. Use this information to pick a new filter.
  • Remove the old filter and carefully replace it with the new one. Be sure to insert the new filter in the correct position based on the arrows on the filter that indicate which way to place it. If it’s not placed properly, the air is getting filtered in the wrong direction and your system will be far less efficient. 
  • If there’s a cover grille on your return air duct, be sure to close the cover grille and secure the latch once you’re done.

3 Signs It’s Time to Change Your AC Filter

Now that you know how often to change an AC filter and how to do it, let’s talk about the signs that tell you it’s time to do so! In addition to these signs we’ll share, keep in mind that if it’s been more than three months, you could go ahead and replace it regardless of whether these signs are present in your own home

The Unit Isn’t Operating at Peak Efficiency

Does it seem like the air in your home isn’t getting as cool as it used to? Or that the AC unit itself seems to be overheating? Before you call your HVAC technician, one of the first things worth checking is the filter. Remove it and inspect it and you’ll often find it’s time for a change!

Once you have placed the new, clean filter, you should notice a quick improvement in the efficiency of the system. If not, be sure to contact your HVAC technician right away so they can figure out what’s going on. 

Your Allergies are Acting Up

An AC unit offers a drastic improvement in air quality and comfort for everyone. But when it comes to allergy sufferers, the difference it makes can be truly life-changing! So, if you’re noticing your allergies are acting up more than usual, it’s time to check the AC filter.

You might find a dirty filter clogged with pet hair or other allergens that’s been circulating these materials through your home

Remember: if you are an allergy sufferer, this is cause to change your AC filter more frequently than other homeowners will need to. If you have allergies and pets? Be sure to be extra diligent about keeping up with a schedule for changing your HVAC filter. 

As an allergy sufferer, we also encourage you to pay close attention to the air vents in your home. Are you noticing more dust collecting around them? Then it’s time to check your AC filter.

Your Energy Costs are Going Up

It makes sense for your energy bills to fluctuate throughout the year. For example, you’ll typically notice an increase in the summer months when your AC unit has to work harder to keep your home cool and comfortable. But are you noticing a sudden spike in energy costs? This is another sign it’s time to change your AC filter! This is because a dirty filter makes the whole system have to work that much harder to cool your home

Just consider this information from the Energy Department:

“Clogged, dirty filters reduce the amount of airflow and significantly reduce a system’s efficiency. In addition, when airflow is obstructed, air can bypass the filter and deposit dirt directly into the evaporator coil and  impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.”

If that’s not enough to convince someone to keep on top of their AC filter changes, we don’t know what is!

We’re here to help!

We know how overwhelming it can be to keep up with all of the home maintenance duties, including changing your AC filter and other HVAC maintenance tasks. Let us help! 

Routine maintenance—including filter changes—for your residential HVAC system is incredibly important! can improve indoor air quality because it helps reduce the circulation of contaminants through your ventilation system. As long as you change air filters regularly and clean the accessible components of your system, you can help keep your indoor air clean. 

You should also schedule an annual maintenance visit with one of our technicians to ensure that your system is running safely and efficiently. Professional cleaning during these check-ups will help keep your ventilation and duct system free of dust, pet hair, and other allergens!

Ready to schedule your next appointment? Click here to contact us today!

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