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Wondering How Often You Should Change Your Air Filters? Here’s A Useful Guide

The quality of indoor air is a crucial element in the home. Choosing the right air conditioning unit to ensure clean and fresh air will have a great impact on your family’s long-term health. In addition, it also affects how much you spend on energy consumption to run the AC system.

Many people assume that they can just change their AC filter once a month because it needs regular maintenance. While this is true for some types of filters, others need changing every three months or even less frequently depending on their type and usage. 

What is the best way to know how often you should change your filters? It depends on several factors. In this article, we will explain what factors you should consider knowing how often you must change your filters.

How often do you use your air conditioning unit?

The frequency of replacing filters can depend on how often you use them. If your AC is running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, then it’s time to talk about air filter replacement at least twice a year. If you frequently change the settings of your HVAC system, your air filter will become stained faster. Because you are constantly turning up or down the temperature in your room or home, this means that there are more particles in the air that need to be filtered out.

So if you notice that your room is stuffy and you cannot properly breathe, and you were using your HVAC constantly lately, it’s best to check the air filter first. Cleaning dirty air filters ensure that they will be able to do their job of purifying the air properly. You can use special vacuum cleaners that are designed to clean filters or simply change them if they are too rusty already.

What type of filter does your system use?

There are three main types of filters that you can get for air conditioning units: reusable filters, replacement filters, and disposable/throwaway filters. Each type of filter has its lifespan before it needs to be replaced with a new one.

  • For reusable filters, these typically need to be changed every 20 to 30 days or after 100 hours of continuous usage, whichever comes first. These types of filters come with a pre-filter and an inner activated charcoal cartridge that helps eliminate smells and smoke particles. These particular types may not last as long as other individual components, but they can be cleaned and reused for a longer time frame.
  • Replacement filters vary in their lifespan from model to model. However, these usually need replacement every three months or after 200 to 300 hours of usage. These types of air filters are made with a pre-filter and the main filter, and they are capable of removing particles such as dust, pollen, mold spores, and other contaminants.


  • Disposable filters are the most common type of air filter used in residential units. It’s good to know that these types of filters can be disposed of after a single use. However, some models may let you use the filter at least twice before throwing it away completely. You should change disposable/throwaway filters every 1 or 2 months or after 40 to 50 hours of continuous usage. 

Where are you located?

Your location may also determine how often you should change your air filters. For instance, if you live near a busy street or in an area that is surrounded by trees and other greenery, there will be more dust particles surrounding your home even when it’s not windy outside. If this is the case, then it would be best to replace the filter every three months instead of waiting for four months before changing them out.

Some states are also known to have harsh weather conditions that can affect the quality of air inside your unit over time. This includes areas that are either too humid or too dry. It’s always advisable to change your filters every three months rather than waiting for four months.

How old is your unit?

One of the factors that can affect the lifespan of your unit is how old it is. Older air conditioning units and heat pumps may already be rusty and worn out because of the constant use over time. The good news is that you can expect to change your filters every six months or after 150 continuous hours of usage, whichever comes first with these types of systems. However,  if the unit is at least 10 years old, then you may want to replace your filters every three months.

Having the right information on how to change your air filters can help you maintain a clean and healthy living or working space. Ensuring your HVAC unit works properly will protect the components in your system over time and allow them to function without any issues when it’s time for you to turn up the AC.

By following these tips on how to determine when you need to replace your air filters, you can be certain that your AC system will continue working in top condition even in the midst of different outdoor weather conditions.

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