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How Often Does My HVAC Filter Need to Be Changed?

pleated-air-filterThe hot weather is on its way to New Jersey, and you can expect that soon you’ll have the air conditioner in your HVAC cabinet humming once more. It also means that dust and dirt are going to start getting trapped in the HVAC filter as the blower fan of the air conditioner draws air through the return vents from your house.

To make sure your AC stays at peak energy efficiency and doesn’t start collecting dust and dirt inside the cabinet, we recommend you regularly change out the filter for a fresh one. We’ve already written a post about how to do this, and you can always ask for our assistance during your spring maintenance visit. (You have scheduled it, right? If not, simply reach out to us today! It’s never too late for this vital service.)

But how often should I change the filter?

This is an excellent question, and there is no single answer. The frequency of how often a filter needs to be changed depends on the type of filter as well as how often the air conditioner/furnace fan runs. Assuming average use in New Jersey, we’ll make the following recommendations depending on the filter type:

Panel Filters

These are the most basic types of filters. They look like simple screens and are made from fiberglass. They are the least effective filter kind, but they are inexpensive: you can often purchase a pack of them from a home service store for about a dollar per filter. These filters should be changed once a month, as they will clog up rapidly and are in the greatest danger of breaking because of too much strain.

Pleated Filters

These filters are much more powerful than panel filters, and although they cost more they don’t cost that much more. They are made from polyester and can trap more debris. You should expect to change a pleated filter every 3 months, essentially once per season.

Media Filters

These are larger filter house in plastic casings that are similar to pleated filters, but even more durable and powerful. A media filter can sometimes last from 6 to 9 months, although we recommend making a regular check on yours every 3 months. You may also wish to consult with us about this type of filter so you don’t end up with one that’s too powerful.

A Word about Permanent Filters

You might have thought that the most economical solution is to have a permanent filter. Instead of changing the filter, you take it out and clean it once a month. However, we don’t recommend these filters. They’re only about as powerful as panel filters, and they carry the danger of developing mold and mildew over time, which can mean bad odors getting in your home or even toxic mold spores.

For more advice about the best care for your central air conditioning system in Hoboken, NJ or elsewhere in the Tri-State area, get in touch with our staff. Don’t hesitate to call us in an emergency, as we have 24-hour service available.

Advanced Mechanical Services offers service throughout the Tri-State Area.

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