One of the most important things you can do to keep your air conditioner or heating system working at maximum efficiency is change your air filter. A dirty air conditioner filter can reduce equipment efficiency by twenty percent or more. Air conditioner filters should be changed every 3 to 6 months. Some contractors recommend every month but this is usually a bit excessive. Unless of course you suffer from allergies and are using HEPA filters or filters with high MERV ratings. It is best to follow manufacturers recommendations.
Every home is different and there are many factors that determine how long you should wait between filter changes. Wait too long and the efficiency of the equipment will deteriorate and operating costs go up. Change your filter too often and it’s like throwing money away. Considering the cost of some filters that could add up to a lot of money over time.
The more efficient your air conditioner filter is the more often you will have to change or clean it. For most applications pleated filters will do the job. These filters can have high efficiency ratings, as high as 60 percent depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers claim even higher efficiency ratings.
If you suffer from allergies and require cleaner air than a pleated filter can provide, electronic or HEPA filters are good alternative.
As electronic filters become dirty they loose efficiency but because of the way they are designed, no matter how dirty they become they don’t effect air flow. To clean these filters, the collector cells have to be removed and washed with HVAC cleaner or some other chemical cleaner. Electronic air conditioner filters are best at collecting smaller dust particles. These filters require a good pre-filter to collect larger dust particles.
HEPA filters are the most efficient filters available and become plugged very quickly. They need to be checked monthly and often cause too much restriction to airflow to be used at all. An air conditioner contractor will be able to tell you if it is worth trying one of these in your system.
Economy panel filters that you can get from your local hardware store are probably the worst type of filters that you could possibly use in your air conditioner. These are the ones that you could almost read a book through. These filters are at the bottom of the list, when it comes to efficiency.
You could probably leave one of these filters in your air conditioner for a year before it became dirty enough to have a negative effect on air flow.
When To Change Your Air Conditioner Filter
Every house is different and there are many factors that determine how often your heating and air conditioning filters should be replaced. If you wait too long operating efficiency begins to decline, as efficiency drops operating costs increase. Changing your air filter more often than necessary is like throwing money away. Considering the cost of some filters that will add up to a lot of money over your life time.