How Often Should I Replace My AC Filter? A Question from Trilby

Replacing the filters in your ventilation system regularly is an essential part of your¬†Trilby¬†home’s maintenance. It keeps the expensive HVAC machinery running smoothly, saves you money and helps safeguard the health of your loved ones.

How often is often enough to replace your air conditioner filter, though? The short answer is that it depends on your air conditioner, the type of filter and your family’s needs. Below are some guidelines to help you keep it all straight and stay on top of a filter changing schedule.

Rule of Thumb

As a general rule, you should be prepared to change your AC filter every three months when it’s in use. Your filter may require more frequent replacement, which will be discussed in a little more detail below. Although three months is the general rule, you should still inspect your AC filter every month and replace it whenever it’s visibly dirty. That dirt you see not only bogs down the air conditioner, but you may also wind up breathing it in.

More Specifically

There are different kinds of air conditioner filters. Where they vary is in efficiency, which is indicated on a scale called the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with higher numbers being more efficient at filtering small particles from the air. The standard for homes has been MERV 10 for a while, but that will soon be changing to a more efficient standard.

Essentially, the higher air quality you want in your home, the higher MERV rating you want on your filter. However, a higher MERV rating also means more frequent replacement and higher cost, so choose a rating that is appropriate for your family’s needs. If there is a history of allergies, or you live in an area with poor air quality, you may want a MERV 14 filter. If not, you may be fine with a MERV 11 or 12.

High efficiency filters may need to be changed as often as every month, whereas less efficient ones will be closer to that three month range. No matter what kind of filter you are using, you will have to change it more often if you live in a particularly dusty area, as well as in the summer months when the AC unit is being used more.

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