Surviving the sweltering San Antonio summers means relying on your trusty air conditioner. But all that runtime means your AC filter gets dirtier faster, clogging up with dust and debris. Replacing that filter is crucial for your unit’s performance and indoor air quality. But how often should you be swapping out those filters? The recommended timeframes vary based on filter type, usage patterns, and overall home conditions.
In this article, we’ll explore how air conditioner filters function and what factors determine ideal replacement intervals.
The Purpose of AC Filters
Air conditioner filters have an important job. As air circulates through the system, the filter captures dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander, and other particles. Over time, the filter becomes clogged with debris, making it harder for air to pass through. A dirty filter forces your AC system to work harder to push air through.
Filters protect the sensitive internal components of your air conditioning unit. Dirty air can coat the cooling coils with a thick layer of dust. Clogged filters also mean less refreshed air circulating through your ductwork and registers. So, replacing a dirty filter helps your AC run more efficiently and keeps indoor air cleaner.
How Often Should You Change AC Filters?
Most manufacturers recommend replacing air conditioner filters every 30-90 days. But the ideal replacement interval depends on several factors:
- Disposable filters – Change every 30 days
- Pleated filters – Replace every 90 days
- HEPA filters – Swap out every 90-120 days
- Electrostatic filters – Replace every six months
The denser the filter media, the less often it needs replacement. Disposable fiberglass filters trap fewer particles and become clogged faster than pleated media or HEPA filters.
Do you have pets or indoor smokers? Is your home near a busy highway or construction zone? Homes with more indoor pollutants need filter changes more frequently. Air conditioner run time also impacts filter lifespan. Units running 24/7 get dirtier faster than systems used only on hot afternoons.
Check your filter each month and replace it if it looks overly dirty. You should not wait for the recommended timeframe if the filter already appears clogged with dust and debris. A simple visual inspection each month ensures your filter gets changed when needed.
Signs Your AC Filter Needs Replacement
Don’t just rely on guesstimated timeframes. Watch for these signs that indicate it’s time to swap out your AC filter:
- Increased energy bills from working harder
- Reduced airflow at registers
- Unusual smells emanating from vents
- Visible dirt accumulation on the filter
- Decreased system performance
A dirty AC filter makes your system work less efficiently. Check filters monthly and replace them at the first sign of dirt buildup to keep your HVAC system running at peak performance.
DIY or Leave it to the Experts?
Changing your air conditioner filter is generally a quick DIY project. Be sure to turn off the power to your HVAC unit before accessing the filter. Review manufacturer instructions to ensure proper filter size and orientation. Take care not to bend or damage the filter when installing.
Some high-efficiency electrostatic filters require professional cleaning rather than replacement. Call the experts at Elmer’s Home Services for complex ductwork or tricky filter access. Our NATE-certified technicians can inspect your overall system health while changing difficult-to-reach filters.
Proper maintenance keeps your AC operating efficiently all summer long. Contact Elmer’s Home Services in San Antonio for all your cooling needs, from filter changes to new system installations. Keep your home comfortable and energy bills affordable with routine AC filter replacements.
#1 San Antonio HVAC Expert
Ready to change your air filter? Contact us today at (210) 503-0813 for all your AC maintenance needs. Our team serves the greater San Antonio area with fast, friendly, affordable HVAC repair, installation, and maintenance.