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How Often Should You Change Your AC Filters in Your House & How to Do It

Many homeowners wonder how often they should change their home air conditioning (AC) filters and how to do it? Just read this article and you will no longer feel like you’re “in the dark.” You will know when and how to do this task.

How Often Should You Change Your AC Filter?

The easy answer: It depends. Answer these questions first before you decide to change your AC filter.

  • What type of AC filter do you use?

If you use standard 1 to 3 inch air filters, you should change filters every 30 to 60 days, if you are allergy-free. Should you suffer light to moderate allergies, change filters or replace them more often, around every three weeks.

  • How would you rate your home’s indoor air quality?

Excellent, good, fair, or poor (someone smokes in the house). Have you noticed any “strange” smells coming from your AC system? If you have, call an expert technician, because these could be signs that your AC needs a tune up.

  • What type and number of pets do you have?

Except for certain dog breeds, e.g. Yorkshire Terriers, which are hypoallergenic and do not shed dander, the type and number of pets in the home dictate more frequent air filter replacement. Add a pet, and you should change your AC air filter, at least, every 60 days. Add another pet, giving you multiple pets, and you should change air filters every 20 to 45 days.

  • How many people live in your home?

If you live alone, without pets and suffer no allergies, you could wait to change filters in 6 to 12 month intervals. However, if your home is “stuffed” with a spouse and several kids, more frequent air filter changes, say every 20 to 45 days, to improve the air quality in your home.

  • What is the level of air pollution outdoors around your house?

Should you live in a rural area or have AC in a vacation home that you only periodically use, the air around your house should be free of high levels of pollution, since there are fewer vehicles to pollute the air.

Construction projects going on around your house? The dust outdoors increases, recommending air filter replacement frequency as often as every 30 to 60 days. The same rule of thumb applies if you live on a heavily-traveled roadway.

Finding the “Right” Air Conditioner Replacement Filter

There are seemingly an infinite number of filter size options. Call the manufacturer or your favorite expert tech to learn the “right” air filter for your AC system.

Visit your AC manufacturer’s website to learn “where to buy” the air filters your AC system uses. Or, ask your tech expert for the size you need. Or, remove the one you now use and look on the frame for the labeled dimensions (width, depth, and height).

How to Change an AC Filter in Your Home

Many people do not think about their AC system, until it doesn’t work. Don’t deny it. We know you’re out there. You only need to take these three simple steps to improve the efficiency of your AC by 5 to 15%, by changing clogged filters.

  1. First, you need to find its location and remove it.

    This may sound silly, but is a true problem for many homeowners. This is particularly common for those who only pay attention to their AC when it stops working.

  2. Identify your filter size and type.

    Older systems typically use fiberglass air filters. You should replace these regularly, around every 30 days. Newer systems often use pleated filters, also rectangular with a depth of about one inch. You should replace these about every 90 days, if you have no allergies, but AC pros typically recommend every 45 days for max efficiency.

    Fiberglass Filter
    Example of a Fiberglass Filter – via diy.com

    Be sure to replace them with the right size and type of air filter. If your AC was working properly, you could remove the filter and buy one that is identical to it. If you have a “media filter” you’ll only need to replace it every 6 to 8 months. These look like pleated filters, but last longer.

    Pleated Filter
    Example of a Pleated Filter – via diy.com

  3. Install the filter, once you purchase the type and size you need.

    Don’t forget to install the new air filter. It’s amazing how many homeowners “forget” to install the new filters they buy as replacements.

Summing It Up

It is vital that you choose the right filter for your AC system. The key is to change them (or clean them) regularly. Always replace a clogged filter with a new, clean one. If you suffer with allergies or have a pet, change filters more often than the “rules of thumb” appearing earlier in this article.

If you prefer, Petro Home Services expert field techs can offer service plans that cover regular AC filter replacement. You also can call your local Petro depot and ask about our maintenance/service plans.




Related Resources:

When to Replace Your Central Air Conditioning System

Choosing the Best Air Conditioner for Your Home

Types of Air Conditioners Comparison Infographic