How to Change Your AC Filter and Improve Air Quality

Learn how to change your AC filter regularly for better indoor air quality and improved efficiency of your HVAC system.

How to Change Your AC Filter and Improve Air Quality

Changing your air conditioner filter regularly is essential for maintaining a healthy home environment and keeping your HVAC system running efficiently. But before you attempt to replace the AC filter, make sure the oven is turned off. If the central air system has been operating, wait until it cools down before changing the AC filter. In general, most air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies recommend changing your air filter every 90 days or 3 months.

This may vary depending on the location of your home (e.g. dry and dusty climates), if you have pets, and the age of your system and equipment. If you have pets in your home, you should consider changing the filter every 60 days or 2 months, and for households with multiple pets or people with allergies or respiratory conditions, we recommend changing the filter every 20 to 45 days. Usually, vacation homes or vacant homes that don't have much use can expect to change filters every 9-12 months.

The more you use your home, the more often you need to change the air filter. A clear sign that the AC filter needs to be replaced is when the back of the unit is too hot. If the filter is heavily soiled, you may feel warm air coming out the back of the unit. A clogged filter forces the air conditioner to work harder to keep the house cool. This will lead to more frequent air conditioning repairs and ultimately shorten the life of the unit. Reduce the load by simply changing the AC filter regularly.

Filters with higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV ratings. These air filters act as barriers to prevent contaminants from entering the HVAC system or circulating in the air. Simply tell your HVAC technician that you want to learn how to change the AC filter and he can show you where the filter is located, how to remove the old filter and insert the new one, and how to get the right filters for your system. Changing your air cleaner regularly can improve indoor air quality and help your HVAC system work more efficiently. If it doesn't, partially remove the existing filter and look for its dimensions, usually printed on the cardboard filter frame. As air moves through a building's HVAC system, air filters trap and pick up large and small particles, such as dust, allergens and microorganisms. This will help protect your HVAC system from loose debris or perhaps a loose filter attachment leaking into the duct.

In general, filters with a MERV 16 rating or lower are considered HVAC system grade filters for residential, commercial, and general hospital use. Air filters in oven or heat pump HVAC systems are used to remove large particles in the air that can clog the system. If, by any chance, you don't have a regular HVAC service technician to ask how to change an AC filter, you've probably neglected other important maintenance tasks besides changing the AC filters. Air filters typically have a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Report Value) that determines the type and size of contaminants against which the filter will act.