Maintaining your central air conditioning system is crucial for ensuring a comfortable and healthy home environment summer after summer. And one of the most straightforward yet often neglected maintenance tasks is changing the air filter. Hidden away in your HVAC system, the air filter is out of sight, out of mind, and easily forgotten. Yet just a little attention before the dog days of summer arrive, however, can significantly affect your indoor comfort and maybe even your bank account.

Here are 4 benefits of replacing the air filter in your AC system, with some advice for how often you should change it.

Why Changing Your Air Filter Matters

  1. Improved Air Quality. Your AC filter traps dust, pollen, pet dander, and other airborne particles that can accumulate and reduce the filter’s effectiveness. A clogged filter can’t capture new particles, allowing them to circulate through your home, potentially aggravating allergies and respiratory issues.
  2. Enhanced System Efficiency. A dirty filter restricts airflow, forcing your AC system to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. This increased effort consumes more energy, driving up your utility bills. A clean filter allows the system to operate at peak performance and reduce energy consumption.
  3. Extended System Lifespan. When your AC has to work harder due to a clogged filter, it experiences additional wear and tear which can lead to overheating and increased strain on critical components, potentially causing breakdowns and reducing the overall lifespan of the unit.
  4. Preventing Frozen Coils. Restricted airflow caused by a dirty filter can lead to the evaporator coils freezing. Frozen coils compromise the cooling ability of your system and can result in expensive repairs.

How to Know When It’s Time to Change Your Filter

  • Manufacturer’s Recommendations. Check your AC unit’s manual for specific guidelines on how often to change the filter. Typically, manufacturers recommend changing it every 1 to 3 months, but this can vary based on the type of filter and usage.
  • Visible Dirt and Debris. Inspect the filter regularly. If it appears dirty or clogged, it’s time to replace it. A clean filter should allow light to pass through easily; if you can’t see light through the filter, it’s too dirty.
  • Increased Allergy Symptoms. If you notice a sudden increase in allergy symptoms or respiratory issues among household members, it may be due to a dirty filter failing to capture airborne allergens effectively.
  • Higher Energy Bills. A sudden spike in energy bills can indicate that your system is working harder than necessary due to a clogged filter. Replacing the filter can help restore efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Cooling Efficiency Decline. If your AC system isn’t cooling as effectively as it used to, a dirty filter could be the culprit. Replacing it can improve airflow and cooling performance.

Regular maintenance, including timely filter changes, is essential for the optimal performance and longevity of your central air system. Has it been a year or more since your AC system was professionally inspected? Contact P.C. Heating, Cooling, AC & Remodeling today to schedule this important service and enjoy a cool and comfortable summer.