How Often Should You Clean Your AC Filter?


When it comes to home comfort during the summer, ensuring clean air is incredibly important. The change from spring to summer often brings about many allergens, pollen, hay, and dust contaminants. Many homeowners look for ways to keep them out while ensuring their house is cool. 

Fortunately, our ACs often have some protection in the shape of a clean AC filter, as ACs filter the air in our homes. But, as with most fixtures around your home, the filter can still get dirty. The time between cleans can depend on the type of family living in the house. 

For this reason, we’ve put together this guide as an answer to when you should clean your AC’s filter.

If you need to schedule an appointment for maintenance, contact our team at Hurliman Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to help.

Types of AC Filters

When it comes to keeping your home’s air clean and healthy, picking the correct air filter for your AC is one of the most important things you can do. 

These air filters are necessary to catch any dust, allergies, and other particles that hide in the air and even stop them from returning to your home. But choosing the appropriate air filter for your needs can be challenging given the wide range of air filters on the market.

Though many clean AC filters are primarily disposable, many models are washable. Some can even be machine washed!

Pleated Air Filters

Pleated air filters are one of the more standard kinds of filters available and are the types you often see when looking for replacements. 

Shaped like an accordion and placed inside a cardboard frame, these air filters are often made from synthetic materials like polyester or cotton. Due to the greater surface area, their pleats are also known for being exceptionally good for trapping allergens.

As mentioned, while many pleated air filters are disposable, some types are also washable. If you’d rather avoid the costs of constantly replacing your current dirty one with a clean air conditioner filter, look for the washable type.

Electrostatic Air filters

An electrostatic filter is another kind of filter that can help greatly. These filters use an electric charge to catch and hold airborne particles and are typically made of materials that can self-charge to create an electrostatic field. The electric charge attracts and holds onto particles, effectively removing them from the air that passes through the filter.

One of the primary benefits of electrostatic air filters is their excellent filtration efficiency. Because of the electrostatic charge, they can better collect tiny particles like dust, pollen, and mold. 

To improve their filtration ability to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and contaminants from the air, some electrostatic filters are made with many layers, like pre-filters and activated carbon layers.

When You Need to Consider When Cleaning AC Filters

With the range of different types of washable filters available, you need to consider an equally large amount of factors when looking for how often to clean AC filters. 

The filter’s specific MERV rating can be one, with higher grades filtering out more. But, as mentioned earlier, the occupants in your family and home can also significantly impact you.

Changing a washable air filter is often recommended every 30 to 60 days if the home’s occupants are a couple or a single person. This is especially true if no specific air quality or health problems exist.

If anyone in the house has asthma, allergies, or any other respiratory concerns, it’s recommended that you clean the air filter more often. Even the slightest amount of contaminants and allergens can worsen these problems, so cleaning AC filters every 15 to 30 days can help provide cleaner air and decrease possible triggers.

Pets can increase the amount of hair, dander, and allergens in the air, speeding up dirt buildup on the air filter. Changing the filter every 15 to 30 days is recommended for households with pets to maintain the best air quality and reduce pet-related allergens that can affect the occupants. The more pets there are, the more often the filter needs to be cleaned.

Of course, there are a few more factors you need to consider as well, like if anyone smokes and the time of the year itself. If the air quality in or around the home is affected, the filter must be cleaned more often and earlier.

How to Clean an AC Filter

Once you’ve figured out your specific answer to “How often should I clean my air conditioner filter?”, all that’s left is cleaning the dirty air filter.

While you can toss the filter into the washing machine, turning the AC off is also important. Without the filter, allergens – and even bugs and soil – have an unimpeded path into your home.

Once the filter has been properly washed in the sink or the wash, let it dry completely before placing it back in. Manually drying it is also a good option for a hot day. This prevents mold from forming, which would otherwise defeat the filter’s purpose. 

Once it’s in, turn the AC back on.

Contact Hurliman For Help With Your AC

If you’re looking into how often you should clean or replace your air filter, it’s important to remember that it’s determined by a few variables, like the type of filter, the amount of air pollution in your area, and the number of occupants in the house. 

Cleaning or replacing your AC filter regularly is critical for maintaining good indoor air quality and the efficiency of your HVAC system. It’s highly recommended that you check your filter once a month and clean it as needed. 

If you need professional assistance with cleaning or replacing your air filter, Hurliman Heating & Air Conditioning is the trusted company you can contact. Get in touch with Hurliman today!

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