Photo by Leman
The average residential air conditioning system is designed to last for about 12 to 17 years before needing to be replaced. If you want to make sure yours lasts that long—or longer!—it’ll be important for you to maintain it properly.
One of the most basic forms of AC maintenance that you can do is replacing your air conditioning filter. Putting a new air conditioner filter into the place of an old one only takes a few seconds, but it can increase the lifespan of your AC system exponentially.
So, how often should you change your air filter? The truth is that it really all depends on a number of different factors.
Generally speaking, you should only have to replace an HVAC filter about once every three months or so. But you may have to do it more often than that as part of your HVAC maintenance plan in some cases.
Here are some of the different factors that could impact how often you need to change your AC system’s air filter.
WHAT TYPE OF AIR FILTER YOU’RE USING
Do you tend to buy the cheapest air filters that you can find when you’re in the market for them? This is going to affect the answer to the question, “How often should you change your air filter?”
As you’ll see when you shop for air filters on Filterbuy, there are so many different types of air filters for you to choose from these days. From cheap ones that won’t last long at all to pleated air filters that can give you up to six months of life, you have the option to pick out the air filter that’s going to work best in your home.
You should tinker with which air filters you use in your AC system to see which one is going to give you the most life before conking out on you. By spending a little bit extra on an air conditioning filter, you may be able to save yourself money in the long run.
HOW OFTEN YOU’RE TURNING YOUR AC SYSTEM ON
Every single time you turn your home’s AC system on, it pulls air from your home through it and filters it with your air conditioner filter. With this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that, the more you use your AC system, the dirtier your HVAC filter is going to get.
Let’s say that you use your AC system every day in the summer to keep your home cool. You’re going to need to replace your air filter more often than you would have to if you only used it once a week or so.
You should think about how often you actually turn your home’s AC system on and replace your air filter accordingly based on that.
WHERE YOUR HOME’S INDOOR AIR QUALITY RANKS
How is the indoor air quality in your home? This is a question that you should ask yourself when you’re wondering, “How often should you change your air filter?”
There are dozens of different things that can take a toll on your home’s indoor air quality and drag it down. From dirt and dust to smoke and pet dander, they can force your AC system to work harder than it should have to in order to filter your home’s air.
You should make it a point to try and improve your home’s indoor air quality if at all possible. This alone will work wonders for your AC system and keep it running longer.
But you should also make sure that you’re replacing your HVAC system’s air filter a little bit more than you might otherwise when your indoor air quality is poor. This will ensure that your system is able to continuously filter the air in your home without running into any major problems.
HOW DILIGENT YOU ARE ABOUT DOING AC MAINTENANCE
Are you someone who is hellbent on keeping your AC system in great shape for many years to come? It would be great if everyone took this approach to AC maintenance, but of course, not all homeowners are up for the challenge.
If you’re down to commit yourself to AC maintenance, you’re going to want to try and replace your AC system’s air filter more regularly than your neighbors might. You should get into the habit of inspecting your air filter every few days and replacing it once you see dirt, dust, and other debris building up on it.
The simple act of inspecting your air filter regularly could lead to you wanting to replace it before the 3-month mark.
WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY FOR AIR FILTERS
At the end of the day, homeowners want to make sure they’re replacing their HVAC filters often enough. But they don’t want to do it so often that they end up costing themselves a small fortune.
You should consider what you can afford to pay for air filters and do it as often as your budget allows. In some cases, that might mean waiting the full three months until replacing them. But in other instances, you might find that you’re able to do it way more frequently by that.
It never hurts to replace air filters ahead of schedule. A fresh air filter will make your AC system more efficient and cut down on the other AC maintenance that you might need to do.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER? IT ALL DEPENDS
The easy answer to the question, “How often should you change your air filter?”, is three months. Your AC system should be OK if you replace your air filter that often.
But you should consider where your home fits in when it comes to the factors mentioned here and use them to guide you along the way as you maintain your home’s AC system. You could very well find that you need to replace your air filter more than every three months to keep your AC in excellent condition.
Read the other articles on our blog for more AC tips and tricks.