Like a dentist preaching to his clients on the importance of brushing and flossing, Contractors do the same concerning the importance of changing central air conditioner filters on a regular basis. Compared to the cost of a filter ($5 to $10) and the two minutes of your time, the benefits are far reaching. Clean filters ensure pure air supply to your home, reduce the wear and tear on your system, lower energy bills considerably, and avoid air conditioner repairs.
While it is important to have a clean filter, “changing it frequently” is a blanket statement considering all the different kinds of air-conditioners and air trapping systems on the market. Here are some of the most common and their filter maintenance upkeep recommendations.
The most common type of filter on a central air conditioner is the pleated type. They are the least expensive type while maintaining a respectable 50% efficiency rating. The pleated portion of the filter catches dirt and debris that fly through the system, and the dirt is evidence when inspecting the filter. You should replace an exceptionally brown filter immediately, but the standard recommendation is every 3 to 5 months. If gravel roads or other dirt sources surround your property, 2-3 months is probably a better timeline.
Many people are shocked at the initial price tag of an electrostatic air filter for a central air conditioner. Granted they are priced significantly higher that pleated filters but unlike those models the electrostatic air filter can be cleaned instead of just replaced. The cleaning is simple as it involves removing the air filter and spraying water in the opposite direction of the air flow. Replace electrostatic air filters at the start of the cooling season.
Electronic Filters for a Central Air Conditioner
Unlike most filter types that simply stop dirt as it passes through, the electronic filters proactively attract the debris. Like electrostatic filters, these items can be washed and replaced although with a special HVAC cleaning solution instead of just water. While you should clean electronic filters often, they can last for a couple years without needing to be replaced.
HEPA Air Filters
For those with intense allergens, small children, or multiple pets the best bet for a central air conditioner filter is the HEPA air products. These are the most efficient at trapping all sorts of dirt and dander but since they work so well they clog up very quickly. To enjoy a more efficient air conditioner, and purer breathing, you should replace HEPA air filters on a monthly basis.
While changing central air conditioner filters might seem like an arduous task, it is a necessary evil of owning a central air conditioner. The process involved and the frequency of the change has options that are nice but either way the alternative is a dirty home, high energy bills, and difficulty in breathing with irritation to the sinuses. Simply put, there’s no reason not to change a filter.