What You Need to Know About Changing Your AC Filter

August 1, 2019

When you consider how warm and humid Tampa is for most of the year, you get a sense of just how much you rely on your air conditioning throughout the year to stay comfortable in your home. Not only does it keep your home cool, but it also cuts down on humidity, reduces the amount of allergens that flow through the air in your home and helps to keep your home a little more dust-free than it would otherwise be.

Of course, all air conditioning must undergo some regular maintenance, and a big part of that is keeping up with changing your AC filters. This is especially important when you live in an area like Florida that sees nearly year-round use of its air conditioning.

You’ve probably heard that changing your filter on a regular basis is important, but maybe not much more than that. With that in mind, here’s a bit of information you should know about HVAC maintenance in Tampa, FL, specifically with regard to AC filters.

When to change the filter

This is the most common question we get from clients—how often do they actually need to change the filter? There’s no single universal answer here—it really depends on a mix of several factors. For people who rarely use their air conditioning, twice a year is probably good enough—once in the spring and once in the fall. However, if you have a lot of pets, if you live in a very polluted or dusty area, if you have allergies or if you run your air conditioning frequently, these are all factors that could prompt more regular filter changes.

Ultimately, it may be helpful for you to take a peek at your filter every couple weeks or so to see how quickly it fills up with dirt. If you’re unable to see light through the filter, you know it’s time to replace it.

Purchasing a new filter

What should you be looking for when you’re on the hunt for a new filter? First, look on the packaging to find its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). The higher the number for the MERV, the better the filter quality. Higher MERVs mean the filter will be able to trap more contaminants more reliably for a longer period of time, meaning fewer filter changes will be necessary.

The one drawback associated with purchasing high-MERV filters is that it could potentially slow down the airflow in your AC. Therefore, to get the best overall results, you should generally purchase a filter that has a MERV of 6 to 8. Higher efficiency air conditioners can get away with using a bit higher MERV ratings, but you should consult your manual to be sure.

You also need to make sure you’re purchasing the correct filter size. Your owner’s manual should indicate the size, but you can also look on the packaging of the filter you removed and it will likely display its dimensions in a clearly visible area. Make sure you match the dimensions for the new filter you plan to install.

For more information about changing your AC filter and selecting a new one, or to schedule HVAC maintenance in Tampa, FL, reach out to Kenny’s Air Conditioning & Heating Services, Inc.

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Kenny's Air Conditioning & Heating Services, Inc.