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Is It Time to Change Your Air Conditioner Filter Yet?

The best thing you can do to protect your HVAC system is to remember to change the air filter. A clean air filter keeps your AC running efficiently and improves your home’s air quality. However, when the AC is working as it should, it is easy to forget about the air filter, which needs to be replaced once every three months. If the question you are asking now is when do I change my air conditioner filter, this post will give you the answer you are seeking.

What Causes an Air Filter to Get Dirty

 The air conditioner filter has the important job of protecting the sensitive components of the AC unit from undue wear and tear. The filter cleans contaminants, dust, and debris from the hot air that flows into the unit. With its job being to keep dirt out, the dirt on the filter builds up over time,  which may cause the filter to become clogged, restrict airflow and interfere with the function of the HVAC.

Dampness is the second cause of a dirty filter. This can be because of excessively high relative humidity in the house or condensation within the unit. When left unresolved, the problem will cause mould to grow on the filter. This will lead to myriad health problems in the family because heating and cooling spread toxic mould spores quickly, all over the house.

How Often Should the AC Filter Be Changed

 Now, back to the original question. There is no specific answer to how often you should change the filter. You, however, need to check the air filters before you turn on the AC this season. If the filter is dirty from the last warm days of fall, you need to either clean it or get it changed. After that, it is highly recommended to change the filter at least once every three months.

Depending on how often you use the air conditioner and the conditions of where you live, you may have to change the filter more frequently, perhaps every month. You need to get the filters changed often if any of these conditions apply to you:

  • The manufacturer of the AC you are using recommends changing the air filter more frequently.
  • You are using a filter with a low Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating.
  • Someone in your home smokes.
  • Someone you live with or a family member suffers from a respiratory illness like allergies.
  • Your home has a working fireplace.
  • There is construction taking place on your street. This means there is more dust in the air.
  • You own a pet. Dogs and cats shed fur and dander. This will be passed to the air conditioner filter.

You also need to check your air filter at least once every month. If you notice it is torn or damaged, you will have to get it changed immediately. This is because a damaged air filter is useless for cleaning air. It is also vital to check the filter if you start noticing the smell of mould in the air. At times, when there is a malfunction where the AC is not blowing cold air, changing the air filter may be the solution.

When to Clean and When to Replace an Air Conditioner Filter

 The decision on when to clean your air conditioner filters and when to replace them will depend on the filters you are using. You must always switch off the power before you take out the air filter.

Cleaning a permanent filter

Permanent air conditioner filters are designed using a fibreglass frame. They are meant to last and can be cleaned and reused repeatedly. While they are expensive to buy, you will not need to head to the local store to buy new filters repeatedly. Permanent filters are also good for the environment.

Here is how to clean AC filter:

  • Power off the AC and open the service panel, and remove the filter
  • Brush the dust off into a trash can
  • Rinse the filter using running water
  • Air-dry the air filter thoroughly, then put it back into the AC

 Replacing a disposable filter

Disposable AC filters are designed for single use. They are inexpensive, and it is not a huge deal to replace them. It is best to stock up on these filters so that you can replace them without delay when the time comes. To replace them, you need to do the following:

  • Power off the AC and open the panel, and slide the old filter out.
  • Replace with a new filter of the same type. There are arrows on the filter to show you how to insert the new filter.

Whether you need an AC filter change or need help installing a new AC unit, Air Makers has the team you need to help with these tasks. Our primary job is to get your AC into its best shape.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

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