Question: Which AC Filter is right for my home and how often should I change it?
Answer: We get asked more about AC Filters than nearly any other AC System component. This is probably due to the fact that, aside from the thermostat, this is the AC System component that is managed the most by a homeowner or business owner.
At its core, your AC Filter is a barrier that prevents dust and debris from entering your Air Handler and being distributed throughout your home via your AC System ductwork. Over time, the build-up of dust, debris, etc. reduces the effectiveness of your filter. This is by design. Depending upon the material used to create the filter (also known as the filter “media”), the filter will need to be either cleaned or replaced.
A dirty or clogged Filter can lead to many undesirable issues. However, the two (2) main issues are:
- Degraded AC System Performance: As your filter collects more debris, airflow through the system will progressively slow down. This can lead to evaporator coil icing/freezing and can also put undue strain upon the fan motor or even electrical components. This could lead to expensive repair bills.
- Poor Home Air Quality: As your filter collects more debris, the potential for contaminates to be distributed throughout your home increases, leading to possible respiratory and allergic conditions.
How do you stay ahead of these issues? Simple: Regularly replace/clean your Filter. The good news is that replacing AC Filters is quite easy and AC Filters are made in a multitude of sizes and media to give your many options.
A good rule of thumb for changing your AC Filter is to do so monthly. If you share a home with pets, especially pets that shed, you should consider changing Filters more frequently. A good reminder is to check your Filter the same day that you receive your electric bill, especially since a clean filter can lead to lower electric bills.
Here are a few tips when inspecting your filter:
- Always turn your AC System off at the thermostat before checking your Filter. You do not want the AC System pulling unfiltered air into the Air Handler. You will also find that it to be difficult to remove the Filter for inspection as the air is being sucked into the Air Handler. You also run the risk of damaging or bending the Filter as you remove or replace the Filter. This could cause gaps in the Filter that could allow debris directly into the AC System.
- If your Filter is a non-pleated mesh Filter (this is the most common, inexpensive Filter type), ensure that you can see through the Filter. If you cannot, then change the Filter.
- If your Filter is a pleated Filter (this is a more expensive Filter media), inspect for dirt – especially if dirt and dust fall off the filter when you remove it for inspection. If dirt and dust fall to the floor, consider replacing the Filter. Keep in mind that pleated Filters are more expensive and allow you to replace the Filter less frequently.
Your AC Today EMT can evaluate your home’s AC System and give you the best advice regarding the most suitable Filter type and the ideal replacement frequency. Proper Filter replacement combined with an AC Today Maintenance Agreement specifically tailored to your home is the best way to keep your AC System running at optimum performance. Not only will a Maintenance Agreement save you money in the long run, it will help you avoid unwanted downtime due to neglected components. Furthermore, AC Today Maintenance Agreement Clients have repair priority status in the event that an emergency repair or replacement is needed.
Let AC Today keep you ahead of any AC System failures with our award-winning customized Maintenance Agreement. Call us today for more information or stop by our headquarters to speak with our Maintenance Agreement Specialists!