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By Tom Moor
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Posted 8/1/23

How Often Do You Change Air Filters in Your Air Conditioner System?

How often you change your air conditioner’s filter depends on the type of filter you are using and environmental factors specific to your household. Typically, 1” disposable filters should be replaced every 1 to 3 months. If you have a thicker, high-efficiency filter, you should change it once every 6 to 12 months.

Filter Guidelines

Most filters have a recommended guideline detailing how long they last or when they should be changed. When you purchase a new filter, check the packaging for these details. The standard time recommended to change a high-quality air filter is at least once every three months. However, if the filter appears dirty, change it immediately! Dirty or clogged air filters prevent healthy air flow, damage components inside your air conditioner, and decrease your system’s efficiency.

Factors at Play

If your filter doesn’t indicate when it should be changed, there are some factors to consider when deciding how often to change it:

When you have more contaminants in the home, from pets, people, and activities, air filters should be changed more frequently.

Problems from a Dirty Filter

The filter is supposed to keep your unit clean, and when the filter is dirty or clogged, some problems can arise, such as:

  1. Indoor air quality in a home becomes compromised when the filter is dirty. The filter isn’t able to trap and eliminate pollutants that come with everyday activity inside a home. Pollen, mold, smoke fumes, dust mites, and other pollutants. The higher the MERV rating, the more contaminants are filtered out of your indoor air.
  2. The ductwork in your home will become clogged with dirt and debris when the air filter is dirty. The groves inside the aluminum tubes catch anything that is sucked into the ducts and become lodged, creating a source for moisture to build up. This allows mold to grow and for mold spores to circulate around your home via the ducts when your system is operating.
  3. A dirty filter won’t stop debris from gathering inside your condensate drain. When the condensate drain becomes clogged, the water can’t drain properly and will turn into water damage to your system. You will also experience increased humidity in your home when the condensate drain can’t eliminate moisture.

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