Tag Archives: AC

How Often Should I Change My A/C Filter?

how often should I change my a/c filter

You change the oil in your car. You wash it. You keep up the maintenance. You do those things, because they’ll keep the car running longer. You should be doing the same sort of things for your air conditioner. So, have you ever asked yourself, “How often should I change my A/C filter?”

If you did, and couldn’t find an answer, we’re here to help.

So…How Often Should I Change My A/C Filter?

The quickest answer is, “It depends.” Which is, as answers go, pretty unsatisfying.

Before we go more in depth on that, let’s discuss what exactly the air filter does for your air conditioner.

Your air conditioner sucks air out of your house, drags the heat out of it, blow that now much cooler air back into your house, and spits the heat outside. It’s a basic cycle we’ve perfected over the last hundred years or so. The problem with that cycle is air impurity. You can’t often see it with the naked eye, but air is rarely empty. There’s bacteria, dust, pollen, mold spores, plant debris, and all sort of other gunk rolling around in the atmosphere. When your air conditioner pulls the air into the system that junk comes along.

These pollutants then do one of two things. They either get caught on the coils or spewed back into the house with the now cooled air. Neither is good.

Dirty Coils = Operating Inefficiency

The heat transfer coils inside your air conditioner are critical. They need to be able to transfer heat efficiently and cleanly. Any dirt, dust, or debris that builds up on those coils will affect how effectively your air conditioner runs. The more dirt, the lower the efficiency. If you run dirty cools for long enough, then you are headed for a mechanical breakdown, my friend.

And those are never cheap.

The a/c filter’s main job is to protect your coils. Fewer foreign particles making it through the filter means less build up on your coil, and that is a very good thing. Of course, you still don’t know how often you should change your a/c filter, so let’s hit that next.

2 Weeks Minimum, 3 Months Maximum

Some people should change their coils every 2 weeks to a month. Others can get by with doing it every 2 or 3 months. How do you know where you fit?

It’s not that hard to figure out. If you have a lot of people or pets living in your house, you’re going to need to change the filter more regularly. If you’re a single person who works long hours and travels a lot for business, you can get  by changing the filter more frequently.

There is a good rule of thumb you can use to judge though. Take out a filter you’ve been using for a while. Can you see through the mesh? No? Change it. If it’s not that dirty, it can go a little longer.

But, hey, don’t just take our word for it. Insurance company Allstate would also like for you to change your a/c filter on a more regular basis.

Of course, you can trust them.

They’re an insurance company.

When Should I Get a New Air Conditioner?

when should I get a new air conditioner

Have you ever asked yourself this question, “When Should I Get a New Air Conditioner?”

Four Simple(ish) Steps

Okay, let’s get real here. The HVAC market is big. There are a ton of options, and too much choice is confusing for someone who isn’t an industry insider. How do you know what to buy? How do you know when to buy? How do you know if you even need a new air conditioner in the first place?

Fortunately, there are some basic steps you can take to get to the right answer.

Step #1 : How’s Your Efficiency?

Every air conditioner in the U.S. is rated for efficiency according to its SEER score.

There are two things you need to know about SEER:

  1. 1. Higher is always better.
  2. 2. The U.S. residential minimum is 13 SEER.

Chances are that the air conditioner you’re using right now is 13 SEER rated. If your unit is a few years old, it’s possible it could be even lower. When you’re paying too much for air cooling, upgrading to a higher SEER unit will save you money.

Step #2 : When to Buy

Savvy shoppers know that you buy winter coats in summer and swim suits in winter. Most people don’t do that, so the merchandise tends to be priced lower.

Air conditioners are the same way. The worst time to buy is in the summer. The best thing you can do is plan ahead, and try to buy a new air conditioner in early spring, late fall, or winter.

Step #3: Are You Comfortable?

If your air conditioner doesn’t seem to be cooling like it should, the problem may not be in your head.

Your system could have a refrigerant leak or it could just be wearing out. A loss in cooling effectiveness is a good indicator that you need to start looking before the unit fails completely.

Step #4: Where to Buy

Local HVAC contractors will sell you an air conditioner, but they have been known to mark up their prices.

A little.

Okay, maybe not a little. A 100% markup is pretty typical. Which means that a $2000 wholesale unit can run you around $4000 before you account for installation costs.

The best way to save money is online. There are a lot of wholesale retailers who will ship units to you with minimal markup.

When Should I Get a New Air Conditioner?

Hopefully we’ve helped you along your way. If you still have questions, ask us in the comments or drop an email our way.

Above all, if you still ask yourself, “When should I get a new air conditioner?”, remember our 4 simple steps.