It’s no secret that air conditioner filters play a major role in maintaining healthy indoor air quality. But did you know that the frequency you replace them can impact your home, family, and budget? Taking too long to change your AC filter can lead to many problems, from high energy bills to poor indoor air quality.

But how often should you change your AC filter? The answer isn’t exactly simple; it depends on several factors:

1. Types of Filters

The type of filter you have affects how often it needs replacement. Types of filters include the following:

Fiberglass Filters

Fiberglass filters are the most basic type of AC filter available. They aim to protect your air conditioning system rather than improve indoor air quality. Despite being inexpensive, they need replacing monthly due to their low efficiency at trapping dust and pollutants.

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters are better than fiberglass filters in terms of performance and cost. They have more surface area to trap particles. The thicker the wrinkles, the better the filter’s efficiency. These filters need replacing every three to six months, depending on the air quality in your home.

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters

HEPA filters are the best of all kinds of air filters. They can trap up to 99.97% of all airborne particles. Although they’re more expensive and need professional installation, they only need replacing once a year, making them a great option for those with respiratory issues or severe allergies. These are more commonly used in professional settings like hospitals and commercial buildings. They may not be a good option for your HVAC unit if it is not rated for filters of this caliber because it will reduce airflow.

Washable Filters

Washable filters are cost-effective and eco-friendly since they last several years. They trap dust, allergens, and other particles on a washable sticky surface. However, they must be dry before putting them back into the system to avoid mold growth.

2. Size Matters

The size of the intake on your air conditioning unit also plays a significant role in how often you should change your filter. Larger intakes tend to have larger filters, which can trap more particles before they become full. On the other hand, smaller intakes have smaller filters that fill up faster and, therefore, need changing more frequently.

A standard rule of thumb for the average household is to replace the filter every 60-90 days. However, if you have a smaller unit or live in a harsher environment with higher dust levels or other particles, you may need to replace it more often.

It’s also worth noting that the size of the filter itself can affect its lifespan. Filters with more surface area can capture more particles before they need replacing.

3. Consider Your Home

The characteristics and circumstances of your home influence the frequency of filter changes. Here are some examples.

Air Quality

If your home is in an area with poor outdoor air quality, you may need to replace your filters more often. Increased dust levels and pollutants necessitate frequent filter changes to ensure clean, healthy air circulation within your home.

Pet Ownership

Pets can significantly impact your AC filter lifespan. If you have pets that shed, you may need to replace your filters more often due to the additional dander and fur in your home’s air.


The number of people living in your home also matters. Homes with larger families or frequent guests will have more dust and particles floating in the air, which can clog filters faster. Consequently, you may need to change your filters more frequently.

Allergies and Asthma

If any residents suffer from allergies or asthma, it’s crucial to maintain optimal indoor air quality. Regular filter changes can help reduce allergens and irritants in the air, contributing to a healthier living environment.

4. Follow Your AC Manufacturer’s Guidelines

When in doubt, you should always follow the guidelines from your air conditioner’s manufacturer. They are likely the most familiar with your specific model and can provide the best advice on how often you should change your filter.

With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), we at Island Heating & Air Conditioning are your trusted source for all your air conditioning needs in Oak Harbor and the surrounding area. Apart from filter replacements, we also do AC installation, AC repair service, complete AC replacement, furnace maintenance, heat pump maintenance, and heat pump installation. We also offer free estimates for your convenience.

Contact Island Heating & Air Conditioning today for all your air conditioning needs!

Tags: ,


August 15, 2023 7:16 pm