How Often Should You Clean Your AC Filter for Optimal Performance?

A good rule of thumb is to check your filter every month. But how often do you need to clean your air conditioner? It depends on several factors, such as the type of filter, the environment, and the amount of use. Air filters should be cleaned or changed every month or two during busy seasons. If you have furry pets, live in a dusty area, or if your air conditioner is running constantly, you may need to replace filters more often.

Simply replacing a dirty air filter can reduce energy consumption by up to 15%. It's one of the most important maintenance tasks for your air conditioning unit. When air filters get dirty or clogged, air can't flow properly around the house. This can also cause the evaporator coils to freeze, leading to ice buildup inside the air conditioning unit.

Some types of filters are reusable; others need to be replaced. They come in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace the filter(s) in your air conditioning system every month or two during the cooling season. If your AC is in constant use, if it's subject to dusty conditions, or if you have pets with fur in the house, you may need to change filters more often.

To determine how often to change or clean the air filter, check the filter label or ask your local HVAC technician. You should always follow the manufacturer's instructions for how often to clean the air conditioner filter. For a more thorough cleaning, fill the sink with one part water and one part white vinegar, and then allow the HVAC filter to soak in the solution for one hour. When you neglect your air conditioning unit, its performance will decline as you consume more energy, causing your utility bills to skyrocket.

Regularly replacing air filters and scheduling an annual tune-up is the best way to ensure that your air conditioner works efficiently, especially on hot days when you need it most. If several of these factors are familiar to you, you will likely experience a faster particle load on your filters and, therefore, will need to change it more frequently. Other parts of the air conditioning unit will also need cleaning, such as condensate drains and coil fins. Permanent filters are more expensive upfront but they can save you money in the long run because you can clean them instead of replacing them.

At the beginning of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to make sure it contacts the metal housing of the unit. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a fin comb that combs these fins back to their near-original state. Often, you'll pay much more in wasted energy than you would simply by calling a licensed air conditioning contractor to perform a set-up. To keep your AC running optimally and save money on energy bills in the long run, it's important to clean or replace your filter(s) regularly. Check your filter every month and follow manufacturer instructions for how often to clean or replace it. If you're not sure how often to clean your air conditioner filter, ask your local HVAC technician for advice.

Elisa Michocki
Elisa Michocki

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