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How Often Should I Replace My Hvac Air Filters?

Young repairman repairing ceiling air conditioning unit

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The air filter in your HVAC system is probably not something you think about regularly. However, its importance cannot be overstated. Although these filters tend to be inexpensive, it does not mean that their job is minor or unimportant. By having a clean filter, you can ensure that you are doing everything you can to prevent breakdowns, keep the unit’s energy efficiency and level of performance, prolong the life of your equipment, and improve the quality of the air in your home. Your air conditioner filter is a cost-effective way to extend the need to call upon HVAC services.

How often should AC filters be replaced?

Several conditions may impact how often you need to change the filter in your HVAC unit. Some of them are:

The size of the home – A large home requires more air to circulate, resulting in more particles trapped by the filter. This means that a larger home may require more frequent filter changes.

If you have pets – Pets that shed will cause your filter to get clogged much faster. If you have more than one shedding pet, the filter may get clogged even faster.

Opening windows and doors – You may occasionally feel the need to open windows or doors to let fresh air in. Although that may get you fresher air for a while, you may also be inviting more dust and other particles to enter your home. If you leave windows and doors open regularly, consider more frequent filter changes.

 Worker repairing ceiling air conditioning unit

SmokingSmoking releases contaminants into the air, which clog your AC filters. The more smokers you have in your home, the more frequent filter changes you will need.

Allergies – If you have allergy sufferers or people with respiratory conditions in your home, changing the filters often may provide some relief.

Excessive dust – If you are in the process of remodeling or your house is experiencing excessive dust for any other reason, you will have to change the filter as often as necessary to avoid dust accumulation and a possible breakdown of the equipment.

Are there signs that your filter should be replaced?

Besides physically inspecting the filter and seeing that it is visibly dirty, looks completely gray, and looks clogged, other signs of a filter needing to be replaced are:

  • When you start to notice that the furnace or air conditioner has started to cycle on and off much more frequently.
  • When you can see more dust around the home.
  • When you can perceive a burning smell or any other unusual odors emanating from the HVAC unit.

If so, check your user’s manual for recommendations on the frequency of filter changes or contact your HVAC technician to come and have a look.

General Recommendations

It is always recommended that you follow a set routine when it comes to changing the filters of your HVAC system. Besides being aware of the factors listed above, you can establish a set routine of filter changes. You may go for a change every time the seasons change, which would give you 4 changes per year, or, if your unit is not used too often, changing the filter twice a year will be enough to have the unit working efficiently.