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How Often Should You Replace Your AC Filters?

The heat in Tampa can be relentless, and the air in many parts of the city are heavy with humidity and airborne pollutants. That means keeping your air conditioning filters clean and functional is essential, here more than in other areas.

AC filters keep your cooling system efficient and ensure the air in your home is free from harmful contaminants. But how often do you need to replace your AC filters? 

The answer depends on your lifestyle and living situation, and on the AC filter you choose. 

How Often to Replace Each Type of AC Filter

  • Fiberglass Filters: Every 30 days
  • Pleated Air Filters: 60 to 90 days
  • Reusable Filters: These filters have a lifespan of around 1 to 2 years, but they need to be cleaned monthly
  • HEPA Filters: Every six months

Lifestyle Considerations for How Often to Change Air Filters

A clean and dirty filter for an AC unit

Any of the following lifestyle considerations means you may want to change out your air filter more often. In general, we would recommend about 15% earlier for each.

So, if you have pets and a fiberglas filter, you may want to change it every 27 days instead of every 30. If you have pets, allergies, and a multiperson household, you may want to change it every 20 days.

  • Pets: Furry friends sharing your home bring lots of love, but also dander, hair, and dust. Breeds with hair instead of fur, like Poodles, and smaller pets, have less impact, but most pets contribute to the debris in the air.
  • Household Size: Every additional person in your home increases the load on your air filters. This is particulary true if there’s a lot of cooking and cleaning to accomodate a full house. 
  • Outdoor Pollution: Air pollution is a serious issue in urban hubs like Tampa. If you live in or near the city with high concentrations of smog, dust, or industrial contaminants, they infiltrate your home when doors and windows are opened or even via your AC system.

When you go an buy a filter for your AC unit, you will notice that some will tell you what they filter out. Some will even filter out most pollution like, smoke or smog.

Why Should You Replace Your AC Filters? 

AC filters remove particles and contaminants from the air in your home, which not only ensures that your air conditioning unit works efficiently, but also keeps the air you breathe clean.

Prolonged use of dirty filters, on the other hand, can lead to: 

  • Increased energy consumption
  • Reduced cooling efficiency
  • A shorter lifespan for your AC unit
  • Degraded indoor air quality
  • Increased allergies
  • Potential exposure to mold and mildew

Unexpected repair expenses due to a strained AC system are things best avoided – all it takes is replacing your AC filter regularly.

Millian Aire AC & Heating suggests that you replace your filters on the 1st of every month. That way you have a set schedule that you can follow and get into the habit of replacing your filters regularly.

Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your AC filters

  • Reduced Air Flow: If your air conditioner isn’t blowing out air as powerfully as before, your AC filters are likely obstructing the flow and need to be replaced.
  • Increased Energy Bill: When your air conditioner’s filter is dirty, the system has to work harder to cool your home, consequently using more energy.
  • Unusual Noise: All air conditioning systems make noise, but if you start hearing unusual sounds it could be a dirty filter causing your system to work harder, leading to the noises.
  • Unpleasant Odor: If your home starts smelling musty or dusty, it could be a sign that your filter is full and needs to be replaced. A full air filter can’t pull out stinky contaminates as well, and it can grow mold or mildew that contribute to the smell.

Which AC Filter Is Best For Your System?

Fiberglass Filters 

Fiberglass filters are the standard and most affordable type. They are designed to protect your HVAC system and work fine for people without respiratory issues. However, they aren’t the most effective when it comes to trapping tiny particles so they’re not best for allergy suffers. They should be replaced every 30 days, so they are not the lowest maintenance either. 

Pleated Air Filters 

If you’re looking for a step up in air quality and reduced maintenance without breaking the bank, then pleated air filters might be the perfect choice. These filters can trap smaller particles than fiberglass filters because they are made out of denser materials. They also last a bit longer – typically around 60-90 days.

Reusable Filters 

Reusable, or washable filters, often have a higher upfront cost, but they are economical over the long-run because they can be cleaned and reinstalled. They need to be cleaned on a monthly basis, and some people will notice improved air quality from more frequent cleaning.

HEPA Filters 

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the top tier. They can trap up to 99.97% of air particles, including those as small as 0.3 microns in size. People with respiratory issues or allergies benefit the most from these filters.

A HEPA filter can last 12 months, but in the humid and pollutant-heavy air of Hudson Florida, every six months is best.

What If I Don’t Use an Air Filter or Forget to Change It?

Millian Aire technicians can replace your AC filters

If you thought changing your AC filter was a chore you could skip, let’s reconsider. A poorly maintained filter can lead to a range of issues.

Just as a runner can’t perform well with a dust mask on, your AC unit struggles to operate with a dirty filter. The problems extend way beyond just the unit.

If the filter is clogged with dust, pet hair, or other particles, it hinders proper air circulation and puts unnecessary strain on your AC unit.

The Impact on Your Health 

An unchanged filter not only affects your AC unit and wallet; it can also affect your health. Dust and allergens circulate in your home when a filter is not doing its job correctly, potentially making your air dirtier than the air outside.

The humid Tampa air running through your AC unit, combined with dirty, dusty filters, can also be a perfect breeding place for mold and mildew. This contaminated air circulating through your home can exasperate allergies and respiratory issues.

This is why Millian Aire has indoor air quality options, to help you improve the air you breathe.

Decline in Air Conditioning Efficiency 

The longer the filter is in use, the more dirt it collects, making your AC work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. The strain can lead to significant mechanical issues and ultimately a complete system breakdown.

Replace Air Filters Regularly

Whether you need assistance in air filter cleaning, replacement, or finding the filter that best suits your needs, Millian Aire’s certified technicians provide personalized, top-notch service.

From walking you through the different filter types – including fiberglass filters, pleated air filters, reusable filters, and HEPA filters – to providing maintenance tips and answering your pressing concerns, Millian Aire supports you in making informed decisions about your AC system.

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