Changing the air filter in your air conditioner is the most important thing you can do to keep the unit running properly. The air filter helps to keep dirt and dust out of your unit so that the internal components don’t get clogged with debris. That allows the system to work properly and to cool your home efficiently.
If your air filter is clogged, you may notice that your air conditioner is not working as well. The summer in Apache Junction, Arizona can seem a little more unbearable than usual, even when you are sitting in your recliner in your own living room. A dirty filter can also cause the coil to become iced over or parts to become damaged.
Your system may have to work harder, or it may stop working entirely. You could also be looking at an expensive air conditioner repair bill.
How often you need to change your air filter will depend on what kind of air conditioner you have. Your Apache Junction AC contractor can easily take care of this for you during your routine AC maintenance, but educating yourself about the issue can help you ensure that you stay on schedule.
Here’s what you need to know about the different types of filters:
As their name suggests, permanent filters do not need to be changed. They remain in your air conditioner permanently — unless they are damaged somehow and then need to be replaced.
Instead of changing out a permanent air filter, you clean it. The filter has to be cleaned every two months to ensure your air conditioner operates efficiently. You can do this yourself, or you can hire an AC contractor to do this for you under a maintenance plan.
Generally, we don’t recommend permanent air filters because hiring a contractor to do the maintenance can be costly, and you are likely to fall behind schedule if you leave it to yourself to clean. These filters can develop bacteria and mold if they are not cleaned regularly, and that can create unpleasant odors in your home and even cause your family to become sick.
Panel filters are effective and inexpensive, which makes them a popular option. You can find them easily at hardware stores, and they are often bundled in larger packages, helping you to save more money. In most cases, you can buy them for what amounts to about a dollar each.
You will need to buy these filters in bulk since they have to be changed often: About once a month. Just stock up when you see them on sale at the hardware store, and change them out on the first or last of the month. That will be an easy date for you to remember, and you’ll soon get into the habit of changing the filter without having to think about it.
If you aren’t sure how to change the filter, just ask your AC contractor to show you how to do it during a maintenance visit. You should then be OK to do it on your own going forward.
Pleated filters are made of a polyester weave, which makes them more effective at keeping dirt and debris out of your air conditioner. However, since they have a higher-quality design and material, they also cost a little more. At the same time, they don’t have to be changed as frequently as panel filters, so the cost doesn’t end up being that much more over time.
You must change a pleated filter every three to six months, depending on the quality of the particular filter and how much dirt you get around your AC unit. Keeping the area free of leaves and other debris can extend the life of the filter (and your AC unit).
Just one word of caution with pleated filters: Look for filters with a lower MERV rating. A filter with a rating of 12 or higher will put too much strain on the airflow in your air conditioner, which will cause it to work harder and send your energy bills skyrocketing.
The air filter may seem like a simple part of your air conditioner, but it is very important. Make sure you change it out regularly to keep your air conditioner working properly and efficiently.
Comfort Experts of Arizona can help you understand the type of AC maintenance your particular unit needs for optimal performance and longevity. With the right maintenance, you can avoid costly air conditioner repair. An AC contractor from our team can recommend a maintenance schedule for your unit and can perform repairs as they become necessary. Our team also performs emergency repairs. Call us today to discuss your air conditioner needs!
I've been servicing Gilbert Arizona and the entire AZ Valley for over 5 years. Your HVAC needs are always my top priority.