Everything You Need to Know About Changing Your AC Filter

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Ever notice your air conditioning just isn’t as cold as it usually is? Do you have to keep heading over to the thermostat to bring the temperature just one more degree? Does it seem like your electric bill is rising for no good reason?

It’s probably time to change your air conditioning filter! Think about how often you vacuum, dust, and wipe down the surfaces in your home…pretty often right? The same exact debris and even more gets caught in your air conditioning filter every single day. Once the filter is full, these particles are able to make their way into the machinery of the unit, and age the parts more quickly than normal. Also, when clogged, less air flows through the system meaning less air is cooled and it cannot be circulated through your home. This means it will feel warmer, and you will continue lowering the thermostat which will just raise your bill without any added cooling effect. If a dirty filter is kept in your unit for too long, this can cause the unit to freeze, which could potentially cause leaks and flooding once the unit defrosts.

The good news is you can change the filter easily on your own. There is absolutely no need to call an HVAC repairman when the process is made very simple. First, find where your filter is on your A/C unit and look at it to figure out what size you need. Typically this is printed on the cardboard edges of the filter. A good fit is necessary to properly filter air through the unit and into your home. After this, it helps to know what type of air filter you need to buy, so we thought it would be helpful to break down the different types of air filters and when to use them.

All filters are rated based upon the MERV scale. A filter MERV rating indicates how much debris and pollutant the filter is able to pick up, the higher the rating, the better the filtration abilities. Typically, we see price increase as the MERV rating increases, because the products work better. The filters with the lowest MERV ratings (1-4) are made from fiberglass which collect 10% of debris and do not do a great job of filtering air. The most common filters, made from polyester, look like accordions and typically have a MERV rating of 10-13. These typically catch just under half of debris and are a fine option for your home. The next step up comes in the form of high efficiency filters, which boast a MERV rating of anywhere from 14 to 16. These filters are the best for homes with pets, children, and lots of dust because they filter out over three quarters of air pollutants. They will keep your air cooler, your home cleaner, and your machine running more efficiently. The last kind are HEPA A/C filters, but we do not generally recommend them because they filter almost everything out, and hardly let air through with standard A/C units. If you’re having trouble figuring out what kind of filter you need, just give us a call at 858-571-8865 and we’d be happy to help you sort it out!

You may find that your air conditioning filter is reusable. Reusable filters are made from sturdy metal and are meant to be washed and reused overtime. Make sure to let it dry completely before putting it back into your unit.

Now, for the fun part. Start out by turning off your A/C unit. You don’t want to go sticking your hand into anything that has live electricity flowing through it, so better to be careful and make sure that the electricity is off. Next just remove the old filter and slide in the new one. Simply turn your unit back on, and you’re good to go!

Catch us here next week for some more helpful home maintenance tips.

Here at THA Heating, Air, & Plumbing, we know that it can be difficult to get ahead of the rising costs of home maintenance. We want to simplify your experience by giving you access to reliable, reasonable appliance work, as well as boost your personal knowledge. If you’re located in San Diego, call us at (858) 571-8865 to schedule your next repair, install, or anything else in between today!”