How Important Is Changing The Filter In Your Air Conditioner?

Most people never think too much about their air conditioning until it stops working. We become very accustomed to living in climate-controlled comfort. And until that comfort disappears, we don’t give a thought or the care and maintenance an AC system deserves. Even something as simple as changing the filter can make a significant difference in the unit’s function. And cost just a few dollars, but we don’t invest the time and money to do it regularly.

How Do Air Filters Work?

AC air filters are often made of pleated paper or spun fiberglass surrounded by a cardboard frame. They are inserted into the AC system to prevent contaminants and particles from circulating in the air and damaging the system’s sensitive parts. Unfortunately, many consumers think that the air filter is designed to improve the air quality in their homes rather than protect the AC unit’s delicate inner workings. If they knew the purpose of these filters, they might be inclined to replace them more regularly.  

How Often Should Filters Be Changed?

The packaging for most air filters provides a recommended replacement timeframe. Most average models recommend changing the filter every 30 to 60 days. Some of the more expensive models are rated to last an average of 90 days. But the deciding factor should be the conditions in your home. When the filter’s appearance changes from clean and dust free to a mostly dusty, grey look, it is time to replace it. A few general rules will help you determine when you need to inspect your air filter to see if it needs to be replaced.

  • A filter in a non-dusty environment and with no pets should be changed every 90 days or as needed upon visual inspection
  • If you have a single pet, change the filter every 60 days or as required upon visual inspection
  • If you have multiple pets in your home or suffer from allergies, you will want to replace your air filter every 20 to 45 days or as needed upon visual inspection
  • A single resident with no pets could find that the air filter will only require replacement every 6 to 12 months
  • Vacation homes and homes with little use can also expect to need a new air filter every 6 to 12 month

What To Expect If You Don’t Change Your Air Filter

When an air filter is not changed regularly, it becomes covered with dust and debris because that is what an air filter is designed to do. When the surface area is completely covered, the dust creates a barrier that reduces and eventually stops the airflow into your home’s air conditioner. The longer you leave the clogged air filter in place, the harder the unit must work to circulate air. This added work causes all of the air conditioner components to wear out more rapidly than expected. A clogged air filter can reduce the life expectancy of an AC unit by many years.

Other Consequences Of A Dirty Air Filter

Once the air filter is clogged, the motor on your AC will run more frequently to circulate air adequately. This frequent operation will use more power and will increase your electric bill. And at the same time, the clogged air filter will hamper the unit’s ability to cool air as efficiently as it once did. So you will be paying more for power to operate the AC, but your home will be warmer and less comfortable. In addition, you will find that even when you dust and clean your home regularly, there will always be a fine coat of dust coving everything because it is blowing through the AC system rather than being removed by a clean filter.

Changing the filter in your AC is a simple task that will only cost a few dollars. And you will find that the benefits far outweigh the time and money involved in this simple maintenance project. If you have questions about changing your AC filter, call (512) 910-8123 to speak to a Parobek Plumbing & Air Conditioning professional. Your small investment now will prolong the life of your AC and save you a great deal of money in the future.

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