Air conditioner filters are one of those things that every homeowner, or even renter, should know the location of, how to change it, and how often to change it. While it may seem intimidating to go anywhere near your HVAC unit, routinely changing your air filter can improve the efficiency of the HVAC unit, increase its longevity, and keep indoor air quality at healthy levels.

Not sure where to start? You too can become a master of HVAC air filters with these tips from Spoor's Heating & Air Conditioning. Our HVAC company also provides dependable air conditioning services, including AC repair. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our HVAC contractors today!

How To Change An Air Filter In Your Home

Locate All Filters

Depending on the size of your home and the type of air conditioning and heating units you have, there may be several air filters or different types of air filters. For example, an air filter may be located at the return air register and the air handler cabinet. Window AC units may also have filters, though some require cleaning instead of an air filter replacement. Vents around the home might also have filters installed that need to be regularly changed. Finally, there could be an air filter on a swamp cooler if you have one.

Buy The Correct Size Filter

As you find the air filters, take note of the size for each one. You can locate the sizing information on the edge or side of the current air filter; some information might not be visible, so you can pull out the filter to see the complete information. Just make sure the unit is turned off first. If you cannot find the information, you can use a tape measure to determine the size yourself. In addition to the physical size, it's important to make a note of the MERV rating. This number refers to the filter's efficiency, and it's essential to get the correct one. If the MERV rating is too low, it won't filter the air effectively, and if it's too high, the HVAC unit will have difficulty pulling the air properly.

Turn The Unit Off

Once you have all of your filters purchased and ready, turn the HVAC unit off so you can safely access the filter without causing issues. Turning the HVAC off at the thermostat should suffice because you won't be going near any electrical components. If you have trouble with this step or any part of changing your air filter, don't hesitate to contact our experienced HVAC technicians — we are ready to help you!

Replace Air Filter

Most air filters have arrows showing which way to install the filter. Some units will require you to slide the filter horizontally, while others will require you to slide the filter vertically. Vertical filter holders will have a little extra space at the top so you can slide the filter up with plenty of room to place the bottom half into the holder. If you're unsure of the correct orientation, refer to how the original filter was installed, check out a video tutorial online, or consult with an HVAC technician during your next planned HVAC maintenance visit.

How Often To Change Air Filter?

How often you should replace an air filter depends on a variety of factors. The size of your home, the number of people and pets residing in it, the area you live in, the time of year, and allergies and health factors all contribute. However, typically speaking, you should change most air filters every month or every two months. The best way to determine what is right for your home is to check the air filter regularly. You don't want it to be covered in dust and debris by the time you get around to changing it. Instead, aim to change the filter when the dust begins to become visible. Once you are familiar with the length of time this takes, you can set a reminder in your calendar and forget it until then!