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How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter?

Your air filter is a small, disposable, and easily-forgettable and yet unbelievably important component in your heating and cooling system. It’s pivotal to your indoor air quality, and even can impact how often your air conditioner breaks down. And yet, despite all that, the overwhelming majority of people don’t change their air filter nearly often enough. As Palm Beach County air conditioning repair experts, we can say with confidence that the overwhelming majority of our repairs can trace the cause back at least partially to a clogged or dirty air filter that hasn’t been changed.

Why is this such a problem? To be perfectly honest, it usually comes down to the fact that most people simply don’t know how often they need to change their air filter. In fact, they probably have forgotten all about it for months or even years, as it’s sat there and your air conditioner has gone cycle after cycle. On this blog, we’ll explain a few factors that can influence how often you’ll need to change your air filter.

General Use

Florida is a state where warm weather and high humidity are fairly common parts of our climate. As such, it’s not uncommon for us to run our air conditioners more than many other parts of the country. This means you’ll have to run your air conditioner more often, and that your HVAC system’s air filter is going to have to screen more air. As a result, we find that Floridians have to change their air filter more often than most.

Here’s what you can do. First, check your air filter at least every month. This doesn’t take long to do; simply pop open the cabinet on your indoor unit and slide the air filter out of its holding slot. Check the side that faces towards your air intake vent, as this is where most of the dirt and debris will become trapped. If the filter is still largely clean, then it’s probably fine to continue using. If it’s showing signs of being particularly dirty, or has discolored from dust and debris, replace it.

How Long Will My Air Filter Last?

The next question most people have is often “How often will I have to change my air filter?” The answer isn’t exactly straightforward: everybody’s house is different, everybody’s system is different, and everybody has different factors that will influence how long their filter will last.

Here are just a few of these factors:

  • Pets: Pets are valued and treasured members of the family, but they’re a mortal enemy of your air filters, especially pets that shed their fur like dogs, cats, and small rodents. If you have a single dog or cat that sheds, it probably won’t affect your air conditioner too much. However, two or three pets is a lot of extra strain, and will mean you’ll have to replace your filter more often.
  • Smoke: Do you smoke in your house? Smoke is yet another one of those things that gets caught in your air filter, making it difficult for your HVAC system to breathe. Smoking in the house will cause your air filter to become dirty far quicker than it would otherwise, and heavy smokers even more so.
  • Dust: Do you live near a construction site? What about an area that happens to be particularly windy on many days out of the year? In any case, these are factors which contribute to a high amount of airborne dust in your home, and that means more dust to clog up your air filter. You’ll find you have to replace your filter more frequently.
  • Time at home: If you live alone in a small apartment or house and you leave your air conditioner off most of the time, then naturally your air filter is going to last far longer. However, if you have a home that’s almost always occupied and has the air conditioner cranking for hours and hours each day, then you’ll probably have to replace your filter far more frequently.

Keep an eye on your filter for a few months and keep track of how long it takes before you figure that you really need to change it. Also, it helps to keep a few spare filters for your system in your home so you can replace it quickly without having to make the trip to your local hardware store to get a new one.

If your air conditioner needs repaired or your air quality is suffering in your home, call Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC at (561) 270-6181 today to request a repair appointment.
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