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The Importance of Replacing Your AC Filter

by vscontent on March 4, 2016

The Importance of Replacing Your AC FilterHow often do you change the filter on your air conditioner? Was it changed during your last scheduled maintenance? Did you replace it yourself? If you can’t answer the question, then it is probably past time to replace it.

During the cooling season (summer – or whenever your AC is running consistently), it’s important to install a new filter every month for both central and window units. If it’s a reusable filter, make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned every four weeks. (See below for more information on reusable/washable filters.)

Replacing the filter is the most basic (and essential) maintenance task you can perform yourself. If you want to keep your AC running optimally all summer, make sure you are mindful of consistent filter replacement.

A few good reasons to replace your filter regularly:

  • Airborne Contaminants – A dirty filter can contribute to dust, dander and other contaminants being pushed through the vents in your home. Those who suffer from various health issues including allergies or respiratory problems will greatly benefit from a clean filter.
  • Reduced Energy Bill – When a filter is dirty, it restricts airflow and makes the AC unit work harder to bring your home to the desired temperature. A clean filter ensures that your system is working more efficiently (and for shorter periods of time), which will help lower your monthly bill.
  • Reduced Stress on the Unit – Dust, dirt and other debris are the leading cause of unit failure. Without an air filter, this airborne detritus can easily accumulate inside your AC and ductwork, coating the interior. The efficiency of a dirty air conditioning system is greatly affected, and its parts may wear out more quickly when they are compromised. If you want to ensure longevity of your AC, make sure that the filter is clean and running effectively.

When purchasing a new filter you will want to pay close attention to the minimum efficiency reporting value (or MERV) on the packaging. The MERV scale ranges from 1 to 12 for home AC units. The higher the number, the stronger the filtration capacity – but the more energy it requires to pull air through it. So it’s important to consider air quality versus higher energy costs when comparing filter options.

Read More About the MERV Rating System Here

Reusable filters are more expensive and might seem better for the environment, but a closer look will reveal some serious issues. Their performance is limited (the usually generate a low MERV rating of 1-4). Because they are “washable,” many attract fungus or mold – and their waste water from cleaning must be disposed of very carefully. Reusable filters are also more expensive. Buy with caution!

Replacing your AC filter in a timely manner will yield several benefits. For a better idea on the frequency and type of filter for your system, consult your AC manual. It would also be a good idea to consult with an AC professional who can evaluate the system and your home to determine if more frequent replacements would be a good idea.

Read More Information on Home Cooling from

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