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How Often Should I Change My AC Filter in Florida?

How often should you change your AC’s air filter in Florida?

Changing your air filter on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to maintain your AC’s energy efficiency and keep your household comfortable. A clean air filter prevents dust and debris from circulating throughout your home.

So, exactly how often should you be changing your air filter to ensure optimal system performance and home comfort?

A good rule of thumb is to replace it every 1-3 months. Although, the more frequently you change your filters, the better.

However, depending on the following factors, you might need to change your filter more frequently:

In this article, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t run your AC system with a dirty filter, how often you should change your filter while considering extra factors, and how to make the process easier on yourself.

Need an Air Filter Replacement?

Contact Climate Design for an AC tune-up. Our certified technicians will replace your air filter and provide you with professional recommendations for how often you should be replacing it and whether you need to upgrade your filter type. Call us today at (727) 592-5040 or book below to experience 5-star service.

Reasons To Not Run Your AC With a Dirty Filter

Enjoy greater home comfort and lower bills by frequently replacing your AC filter.

Dirty air filters can cause major issues. The main ones are:

  • Higher energy bills: A clogged air filter blocks the warm airflow entering your AC system, meaning it must work harder and longer to cool your home to the desired temperature. When your AC consumes more energy and still can’t effectively cool your home, your energy bills will increase and your home may have uneven temperatures from room to room.
  • More frequent breakdowns and shorter lifespan: Similar to above, running your AC system for longer periods can mean a shortened lifespan for the unit because parts wear out more quickly due to overuse. The strain on your system caused by a dirty air filter can make your AC system break down earlier and more frequently than normal.
  • Ice buildup on your AC: When warm and humid air enters your AC system, it flows over an evaporator coil, which houses a cold chemical agent called refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs the heat and humidity from the air flowing over it, which chills the air and causes condensation on the coil. When the air filter is clogged, warm air can't flow over the cold coil. The condensation then freezes, preventing the system from blowing cool air into your home.
  • Poor air quality: When the air filter gets clogged, the debris it usually traps enters your AC system, home, and air ducts. Changing your air filter is much easier than having to clean your home and ductwork constantly.

Now that you know the downsides of running an AC with a dirty air filter, we'll cover how often you should change it next.

The Filter’s Efficiency Rating

Your AC filter’s MERV rating will tell you how frequently you need to change it.

The higher your filter’s efficiency rating, the more frequently you need to change it. An air filter’s ability to capture unwanted particles is measured by its MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating, which ranges from 1 to 20. High-efficiency air filters typically have a MERV rating of 17+, and they need frequent replacement because they collect dust, debris, and dirt particles more quickly.

How do you know what your air filter’s MERV rating is?

Manufacturers include the filter’s MERV rating on the side of the filter. The MERV rating may be abbreviated as “M17” instead of “MERV 17.”

Follow these basic guidelines to decide when to replace your air filter based on its MERV rating:

  • 1-10 MERV Rating Filters: Change every 3 months (or every other month during summer when you’re using your AC system heavily)
  • 11-16 MERV Rating Filters: Change every 1-2 months (or monthly during summer)
  • 17+ MERV Rating Filters: Check every month and change if dirty

Who Lives In Your Household

You should change your AC air filter every month if you have kids and pets.

Depending on who lives in your household, the recommendation for when to change your air filter varies.

For example, if you live by yourself and don’t have any pets, you should be able to change your air filter every six months.

However, if you have pets and children, you should change your air filters at least once every three months.

Anyone who has a pet is familiar with the amount of fur, hair, and pet dander they can shed. And the buildup gets worse as the seasons change. Not only can shedding worsen allergy symptoms, but air filters will also clog more quickly. We recommend using a high-efficiency air filter and changing it every 2-3 months if you have a pet, and every month when the season changes. If you have more than one pet, you should change the filter every month.

Changing dirty air filters more frequently is recommended if you have a young child (under 5 years old) because they’re more sensitive to poor air quality and their immune systems are still developing.

Your Household’s Habits

If you love burning scented candles, you should change your AC air filter at least every quarter.

Certain lifestyle habits can lead to the need for more frequent air filter changes. For example:

  • Burning scented candles frequently
  • Smoking cigarettes

If just one of these habits applies to your household, you’ll need to change your air filter at least every quarter. If they all apply, change your filter once a month.

Another lifestyle matter to consider is whether or not you’re a permanent resident in Florida. Many homeowners in the “Sunshine State” only live here for part of the year. If you’re one of them, you could probably rely on changing the filter every six months or once during your stay.

Your Household’s Health Conditions

If your household has members with asthma, you should change your AC filter every 6 weeks.

It’s vital to change your air filter regularly if someone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can be as bad for them as the air outdoors because people with respiratory conditions are more sensitive to airborne particulates.

Since air filters provide the first line of defense against pollutants like dust, pet dander, bacteria, and more, you’ll want to change your AC filter every 6 weeks to breathe easier.

Making Filter Changes Easier

A smart thermostat will remind you when to change your air filter. / Source

Want to make filter changes easier to remember?

Sign up for a maintenance plan: Most HVAC contractors offer a maintenance plan that covers air filter replacement for you, in addition to tuning up your system for the upcoming season, and other perks.

For example, when you enroll in Climate Design’s membership plan, you'll receive access to discounts, priority service, and exclusive emergency services. Members also receive proactive reminders to schedule maintenance, and since filter changes might be at the bottom of a “to-do list,” we’ll take care of it for you.

Install a smart thermostat: Many smart thermostats notify you if your AC system needs a filter change, so you won’t need to check if it’s dirty. Smart thermostats will also adjust your home’s temperature automatically to match your household’s average behavior, saving you money on your energy bills over time.

Contact Climate Design for Better System Performance and Home Comfort

With over 1,000 5-star reviews, you can rest assured that you’ll receive effective recommendations for how often you should change your AC filter suited to your HVAC system and household. Whether you’re interested in an AC tune-up, enrolling in our maintenance plan, or installing a smart thermostat, Climate Design can help with same-day service appointments all week long—including Sundays and weeknights.

Call us today at (727) 592-5040 or book an appointment below and see why our customers hire us for their yearly AC tune-ups.