How Often Should I Replace My AC Air Filters?

“What is the most important thing I can do to ensure my AC system continues to run as efficiently as possible in between regular maintenance checkups?” This is a question that we often get from our customers. And, our answer is always simple. We tell our customers to remember to change your air filters!

Did you know that having a clogged filter is the number one cause of air conditioner malfunction? Well, it’s true! According to, “If you allow filters and air conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioner will not work properly, and the compressor or fans are likely to fail prematurely.” Think about it, when your air filters get clogged with dirt, dust, and debris, it causes the motor to work harder than it needs to. Over time, this can severely damage your unit.

Consequently, another question we are frequently asked is “when do I need to change my air filters?” Our answer to this question is also simple. We tell our customers to replace their air filters when they are dirty! Now, the frequency with which an air filter must be replaced will vary from unit to unit. However, replacing your filters too often is never a bad thing.

The reason this variance in frequency exists is because there are multiple factors that play into how often you should be replacing your air filters. These factors can include things like the number of occupants in the house. Additionally, time of year, location of property, the filter’s manufacturer, and similar factors can also play a role. However, the most important factor is the type of air filter you have. The four major types of air filters, in order from least expensive to most expensive, include: disposable fiberglass, disposable pleated, disposable electrostatic, and permanent electrostatic.

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What’s unique about the four different major types of air filters?
The disposable fiberglass filters are your most basic type of filter. These typically cost you a little more than a dollar and need to be replaced every other month. The disposable pleated filters are slightly more expensive, only by a couple of dollars. These should also be replaced every other month. Unlike the fiberglass filters, the pleated filters capture smaller particles like spores and dust mites.

Then you have the two types of electrostatic filters; disposable and permanent. The difference between these two filters is in the name. The disposable electrostatic filters cost around ten dollars and are meant to be disposed of. These filters trap more particles than the fiberglass and pleated filters because of its electrically charged fibers. These filters catch more and therefore should be changed every month.
Permanent electrostatic filters, the fourth major type of air filter, can cost around twenty dollars and can last up to six years. Furthermore, permanent filters are meant to be washed regularly. You can expect to have to clean your permanent electrostatic filter about as often as you would replace a disposable filter.
Having a pet is another factor that can affect your need to change your AC air filters. Keep in mind that all of the types mentioned above are able to filter pet hair from the air that is recirculated in your home. Therefore, this means that no matter what type of filter you have, if you have a pet, you can expect to find pet hair in there. The amount of pet hair getting sucked up into the filter will determine how often you need to replace the filter. Typically, a dog can contribute enough pet hair to warrant monthly replacements of your air filters. This means that depending on the type of filter and the number of pets you have in the house, you should be replacing your air filters on a monthly or bimonthly basis.

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Call Direct AC today!
When you have a dirty air filter, you have dirty air. Dirty air consists of dust and other allergens. If you don’t replace your air filters regularly, you and your loved ones are subjected to this dirty air. Are concerned with dirty air in your home or business? Then, let the trusted experts at Direct AC help you get your system back to running efficiently and cleanly.

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