How Often Should You Change Your Air Conditioning Filters?

air conditioner filter

How Often Should I Change My Air Conditioning Filters?

We get this question a lot! You know they’re there, you know they do something important, and even if you don’t know very much about how air conditioning works, you know something has to be done with them. The question boils down to, how often? Well, in reality there is no quick and easy answer. There are a number of things this depends on.

Things That Can Effect How Often Your Filters Need To Be Changed
  • How Clean Your Environment Is
  • What Type Of Filters You Are Using
  • How Clean You Need Your Environment To Be
  • How Large Your Living Space Is

…and these are just a few!

So, now that we know what the challenges are, let’s see what we can obtain from this information. If you live in an environment that gets dirty and dusty pretty quickly, your filters should be changed every 3 to 6 months typically. This can vary, as we said previously, based on the type of filters you are currently using. We’ll break down the filter types and their longevity in just a second. On a side note, if for some reason, you require that your environment be kept extremely clean (i.e. you have severe asthma or allergies), then you’ll probably want to change your filters monthly or every 3 months.

The most important thing to take from this conversation is that the if you want your air conditioner to run efficiently, you’ll want to change your filters often. The less often they are changed, the more energy is needed to make if operate, and you put strain on both your wallet and your equipment. Now, let’s break down those filters.

Types Of Air Conditioning Filters & Their Longevity
  • Pleated Filters – These are the most common filters used. They vary in their efficiency rates (anywhere from 10%-60%). These types of filters should be changed every 3 months.
  • Electrostatic Filters – These filters give you great value for their efficiency rates. They can be costly (two to three times more than a pleated filter), but they can be reused. You merely rinse them with water, and place them back where they came from.
  • Electronic Filters – These filters are not very efficient at all. In fact, they’ll never get dirty enough to affect airflow, but they do get dirty enough to become inefficient. They are cleaned by removing the electronic cells and soaking them in a special HVAC cleanser. Once dried, they can be reused.
  • HEPA Filters – These filters are by far the most expensive; however, they will keep your air cleaner than any other type of filter. With that in mind, these filters need to be changed every month to maintain their efficiency, as they become plugged very quickly.
  • Economy Panel Filters – These filters can be bought at your local hardware stores in packs of four. They are very inexpensive, and as such, they are extremely inefficient. In fact, most HVAC experts will tell you to steer clear of these filters altogether. Since they are not good at collecting dust, that dust travels where it shouldn’t go…your evaporator coil. Ultimately, you will end up spending more having your evaporator coil cleaned (which it would need to be) than you would have if you bought the proper filters…not to mention the wear and tear on your HVAC equipment.