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The AC Air Filter: How Often Should It Be Changed or Cleaned?

Most of the jobs involved in regularly maintaining an air conditioning system must be handled by HVAC professionals. There’s an important exception, however, which is changing (or cleaning) the air filter. A maintenance technician will do this job during the regular tune-up and inspection, but the filter needs to have this done more than once a year.

How often should I change/clean the filter?

There’s no single answer to this question. It depends on the quality of the filter in place as well as how often you run the air conditioner. Most filters will need to be cleaned or replaced every 1 to 3 months. Less expensive temporary filters will probably have to be replaced each month. There’s nothing wrong with these inexpensive filters (they’re a great bargain at a few dollars a pack), but you’ll need to be diligent at changing them monthly.

More expensive filters will last longer. But you should still check once a month on the filter’s progress to see how much lint and other debris is trapped in it. This way, you’ll start to figure out a good schedule for exchanging the filter.

Note: Make sure that you always mark down the date you changed or cleaned the filter so that you’ll know how much time has passed until you need to do it again. For temporary filters, write in a marker along the side the date the new filters were put in. With permanent filters, put a reminder on your smartphone.

Remember that this is an important job! A filter that collects too much debris will become so clogged that it will cut off the airflow through the system. This will lead to an air conditioner that strains to perform its jobs and raises your bills. It can also cause frozen evaporator coils and damage to motors and other components.

Since 1998, Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration has helped Springfield, VA and all of Northern Virginia enjoy the best in comfort.

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