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How Often Should I Change the Filter This Summer?

air-fliter-cuWe recently wrote a post reminding customers that spring is when to schedule air conditioning maintenance. It’s the best way to get an AC ready to face the stresses of summer without mishap, and it also helps save money with energy-efficient performance and a longer system lifespan.

One of the important steps our technicians do during spring maintenance is to change out the air filter. This is one of the few maintenance tasks homeowners can do themselves—and which they will have to do themselves, since the filter must be changed multiple times over the summer. If you’re unsure about how to change the filter, it’s not hard at all: ask us about it during maintenance, and we’ll be glad to show you the steps.

The big question most people have about filter changes isn’t “How do I do it?” but “How often should I do it?”

Filter change depends on filter type and use

There isn’t a single answer to the question, since how quickly the filter starts to restrict airflow depends on the filter type, as well as how often the air conditioner is used.

We don’t recommend using permanent filters, since they can become moldy and eventually start to stretch apart. If you do have a permanent filter, it needs to be changed once a month.

We also recommend a monthly change for the basic panel filter. These filters are simple screens made from a fiberglass weave. These are inexpensive filters—you can purchase them in packs from stores for about a dollar per filter—but they almost always need to be changed after a month.

Pleated polyester filters are more powerful, as well as more expensive, but they’re one of the best options for an HVAC system. We recommend checking on the filter once a month, but you shouldn’t need to change it for three to four months.

As for use, all of the above frequency changes factor in the standard summer weather we experience here. You may add a month to the time if your house is unoccupied during most of the day. However, we still recommend making a regular check on it. If it’s highly congested with debris, change it no matter what.

Make an easy reminder for yourself

Here’s a good idea to make it much easier to remember when to change the filter: when you put in a new filter, right the date along the edge with a marker. That way you’ll always know how long ago the filter was last changed. Then connect the filter change with another task you need to do every month, such as paying a particular bill: “It’s electrical bill-and-filter check day.” You’ll get into the habit quick enough—and you’ll be rewarded with excellent AC performance.

To arrange for air conditioning maintenance in Bellevue, WA or the surrounding areas, give us a call. We offer full cooling and heating maintenance programs to ensure you have quality comfort all around the year. We’re ready to repair your system if you need additional help.

S&L Mechanical Heating and Cooling has emergency service available for air conditioners and other comfort systems.

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