Summers in Florida are brutal. While tourists mill around in bathing suits, holding frozen cocktails with a little umbrella in hand, residents have to deal with daily responsibilities in sweltering temperatures. Among these responsibilities is keeping track of maintenance on the air conditioner.
While it’s common knowledge that filters should be changed regularly, should it be done more often when it’s hotter outside?
How Often Should I Change the AC Air Filter?
The frequency of changing your air filter depends on many different factors (explained below). It’s not just a matter of breathing clean air. Filters caked with dust means that (a) your home won’t be as cool as it could be, and (b) your power bills will go up because your AC is working overtime trying to reach the temperature set on the thermostat, failing to do so due to blocked airflow.
When determining how often to change the filter, consider the following questions:
– How many people live in your home?
– Do you have any pets? If so, how many?
– What type of air filter do you use?
– Are any smokers in your home?
– Do you like to burn scented candles?
– Do you occupy the home year-round or is it a vacation home?
The more people, pets and time spent in the the home, people smoking or burning candles in the home, the more often you need to change the filter. Keep in mind that while some air filters are cheaper than others, you’ll likely have to change the lower-cost filters more often. Pay attention to the MERV rating. The higher the number, the higher the quality of the filter.
Since you’re more likely to run an air conditioner 24/7 during the hotter months, a good rule of thumb is to change the filter once a month. While the AC is on around the clock, more dust than usual is deposited on the filters. And because the air is more humid during the summer, the air conditioner is absorbing additional moisture, making the air ducts a prime breeding ground for mold.
You can go few extra weeks in between when it’s cooler outside and you give the system a break by turning it off every once in a while.
How to Clean an AC Air Filter
Before you get started, remember to turn off your air conditioner. Do not keep it running without filters. Doing so would result in poor quality air inside your home, and it could create a domino effect with a condensate line that becomes clogged with crud, filthy refrigerant tubes and AC fins. In a nutshell: the entire system will struggle.
Verify the filter is reusable. No point in washing it if it’s already run its course. You can tell by the material of the frame: If it’s made out of cardboard, toss it.
1. Vacuum it. Remove the filter and use a vacuum hose to siphon the dust and debris. Before you do so, use a brush to remove excess dirt.
2. Wash it. Run it under low-pressure warm water until the dust rinses off. If it has an unpleasant smell, wash it with baking powder. If you decide to go this route, wait until the filter is fully dry before reinstalling it. You can speed up the process by using a hair dryer on the “cool” setting.
Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions, since some filters must be cleaned in a specific way.
Call our HVAC professionals at A Plus Air Conditioning and let us help you!
No matter the issue with your air conditioner, we can assist you. We provide services all throughout north central Florida. And because we understand that a working air conditioner is essential in Florida, we offer 24/7 AC emergency service.
Call us at (352) 374-4988 and let us get your AC into the most efficient working order.