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How Often Should I Change My Air Conditioner’s Air Filter?

Your air conditioner is a significant investment in your family’s comfort, so it makes sense that you want to keep it running at peak performance. Aside from scheduling regular maintenance appointments to avoid costly repairs, one of the easiest things you can do to keep your AC unit running smoothly is to regularly clean or replace your air filter.

However, “regularly” is a vague guideline when it comes to how often you should be replacing your air filter. So, how often does your air filter actually need to be changed or cleaned? That depends on a few different factors.

How to Determine When You Need to Clean or Change Your Air Filter

The easiest advice we can give is that you should change your air filters when they’re dirty. However, most people don’t know how often to check if their air filters are dirty!

Determining how often to change or clean your air filter can depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • What kind of filter your air conditioner requires
  • The air quality of your home/your city
  • How many pets you own, if any
  • How many people live in your home
  • Whether you suffer from allergies
  • Whether you smoke cigarettes in or near your home

If you have an average 1” to 3” air filter, the rule of thumb is that you should change them every other month. That said, you may need to change or clean your air filters more often depending on the factors listed above. For example, if you have several pets, your air filter may get clogged faster due to their shedding. Or, if you live in an area with fewer cars around (and thus, less air pollution), you may not need to replace your air filter very often.

If you’re still confused about how often you should be cleaning or changing your air filter, you can contact us online or call us anytime at 301-926-3253. We’ll help you figure out how often you should be replacing your air filter based on your lifestyle and environment.

Why It’s Important to Replace Your Air Filter Regularly

Despite continued suggestion from HVAC technicians and experts, many people still choose not to replace their air filters regularly, instead allowing to become clogged and dirty. Only once their air conditioner stops working altogether do they contact their local HVAC company for AC repair service, which could have been avoided by scheduling regular tune-ups and changing their air filters!

When your air conditioner runs with a dirty air filter, you risk facing the following issues:

  • Reduced air flow – The air filter inside your AC unit is designed to catch unwanted contaminants in your cooling system’s ductwork and improve the indoor air quality of your home by removing any dust, dirt, and other debris that may enter your system. When your air filter is dirty, this filter screen is blocked or clogged. This significantly decreases airflow in your home and causes your air conditioner to run for unnecessarily long periods of time.
  • Decreased air conditioner efficiency – When your air filter is dirty and clogged, your air conditioner works harder to keep your home cool than with a clean, unblocked filter. When your air conditioning system works longer and harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, its energy efficiency decreases.
  • Increased temperatures – Clogged air filters reduce air circulation throughout your home. When cool air cannot circulate from room to room, indoor temperatures rise, and you become uncomfortably warm in your home.
  • Higher utility bills – Your air conditioner is powered by electricity. So, a dirty air filter resulting in decreased air conditioner efficiency can cause your utility bills to skyrocket during the warmer months.

If you need assistance replacing your air filter, or you are unsure what make or model to purchase, contact GAC Services. Our air conditioning technicians specialize in air conditioner maintenance and improving the indoor air quality of your home. Give us a call anytime at 301-926-3253 for your air conditioning needs.


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