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First off, What is an Air Filter and Why Should I Change it?

Your AC filter is the first line of defense to protect your AC unit from dust, debris, hair, and other things that can clog it up. Additionally, it filters the air that the system circulates back to the rest of the house. Most people do not change their AC filters as often as they should, and they might not even know where their AC filter is. The AC filter is often forgotten about until it becomes clogged, or the AC unit stops working, but we’re here to help you enjoy your home and prevent damage.

Air filters do not purify the air you breathe, despite many misconceptions. However, they do help to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and maintain quality air. Neglecting to change your AC filter can result in a clogged filter, causing your AC to fail. The filter catches dust, dirt, and hair, which can eventually jam fan motors and valves, leading to a strain on the system and increased energy usage. In the worst-case scenario, the system can break down entirely. Don’t wait for that to happen! Change your AC filter regularly.

If you don't change your air filter regularly it will eventually get clogged with dust and become less efficient.
Asian woman’s hand is removing a thick sheet of dust from an air purifier’s filter on the front of the house. Clean the scrubber.

What Factors Affect How Often You Should Change Your AC Filter?

  • Type of AC Filter
    • The standard is to change your air filter every 90 days, or 3 months, if you don’t have any allergies. If you have light or moderate allergies, it’s recommended to replace your filter more often, closer to every 60 days. There are 2 main types of air filters, listed below.
      • Fiber glass – A low cost option (you can get them for as cheap as $1.25 at Home Depot!), that needs to be replaced more often.
      • Pleated –  Made of higher quality materials, it can last for 3-6 months.
  1. Air Quality
    • If you live in a city, near a construction site, or a smokey area, you should change your air filter more frequently than the average person. If you notice anything abnormal in the air quality of your house, you should automatically change your AC filter. If poor air quality or smell persists, consider calling one of our Service Pros to check your AC unit because it might need a tune up.
  2. Type and Number of Pets
    • If you have one pet that sheds you should change your AC at least every 60 days.
    • If you have multiple pets, it’s recommended to change air filters every 20 to 45 days.
We all love our furry friends. Just keep in mind that if you have a pet that sheds you'll want to make sure to change your air filter more often.
Cat and dog sleeping together. Kitten and puppy taking nap. Home pets. Animal care. Love and friendship. Domestic animals.

How do I know what AC filter to get?

The easiest thing to do is to call the manufacturer to find out the air filter you should use for your system. Alternatively, you can remove the current filter and look on the frame for labeled dimensions to match it.

How to change your AC filter

  1. Find your AC filter and hold it up to a light source. If light doesn’t pass through your filter, it’s clogged and needs to be changed.
  2. Identify your filter size and type. Check the side of the filter to find the dimensions and determine if it is fiber-glass or pleated based on the shape of the panels.
  3. Purchase a new air filter. You can click here to check out air filters at Home Depot.
  4. Slide the new filter back into place.
  5. Pro tip: Set a reminder on your phone for the next time you should replace your air filter.

Do you have more questions about air filters and taking care of your AC unit? Check out our article here about how using your ceiling fan correctly can decrease the need to run your AC all the time?