How Often Should I Change My AC Filter?

Today was the first real hot today in Kansas City. The temperatures reached above ninety degrees and if you didn’t have an air conditioner for your home you could really feel the heat. Air conditioning saves us all a lot of hassle, but the actual air conditioner is rarely thought about during these hot months. In most cases homeowners may do a beginning of the year tune up, and in some cases not even that. For many the air conditioner is just a tool that works in the background and it just isn’t thought about… until something goes wrong. When something does go wrong the repair bill on an air conditioner can be quite high.

Reasons for having a clean filter

Having a clean or new filter in your air conditioning system will not only provide you with clean air and reduce allergens but it will also extend the life of your air conditioner and prevent problems from occurring down the road. Cleaning or replacing your filter is one of the easiest things you can do for your air conditioner and it is also one of the most impactful. With a dirty or clogged filter you could see diminished capacity of air coming through your vents due to poor air flow. Along with air flow issues you could also see dust accumulating on the evaporator coils which can lead to poor performance of the evaporator itself. (The evaporator absorbs the heat from your home.) In some extreme cases you could even see your air conditioner freeze over. (Ice all over the outside or inside unit and on the refrigerant lines.)

Recommended replace interval

The recommended time to either clean or replace your filter is between one to two months. You will notice that some filter manufacturers state that their product lasts up to four months. Some state even longer then that. I’ve seen a few that say up to six months. It is up to you if you trust these claims, but personally I don’t. I am of the mindset of being safe then sorry. I check my filters every two months like clockwork. But, if you want to try some of the nicer filters out that claims to last four months go right ahead… just check them every month and see how they look. If they still look to be in good shape after two months, then by all means keep it in there and see if it does last the four months. Either way, you’re protecting yourself by still checking it every month.

When you do replace your air conditioning filter you may also take a vacuum with you as well. This is an extra step, but it ensures you have a nice clean system before the next filter is inserted. Once you pull out the old filter get the hose attachment for your vacuum and suck up any stray dust or particles that the old filter left behind. In most cases you can insert the hose right where the filter was. This will allow you to get all of the remaining dust out of there.


Your air conditioner and your furnace are some of the most expensive appliances in your home. It only makes sense to take care of them and to ensure that they last as long as they can. In today’s world a new AC and furnace could cost anywhere between six to twelve-thousand dollars.

By ensuring that your air conditioner filter is taken care of every few months you not only protect your system and investment but it also provides you clean air throughout your home. If you aren’t already, please take the time to clean or replace air filters not only for your health but also for your wallet! If you’re looking for just the right filter then read our ‘Best Air Conditioner Filter Guide.’