Updated January 22, 2024

We’re glad that you know how important it is to see that the air filter that protects the interior of your air conditioner (as well as your heater if you have a forced-air heating system) is changed regularly. Without routine swapping out of congested filters, an air conditioner will start to lose energy efficiency and its parts will rapidly deteriorate. It could even lead to ice developing along the coil.

But… how often should you change the air filter? The answer is that it depends on the type of filter in the system. Less expensive filters will need to be changed more often, for example. We’ll look into this in a bit more detail below the jump.

The least expensive type of filter is the panel filter which is usually made of fiberglass. These filters are simple, flat surfaces that trap particles trying to move through them. You can usually purchase them in packs where each filter only costs around a dollar. However, you’ll need to change the filter every month during the summer because their surfaces will quickly become congested.

More expensive pleated filters consist of polyester weaves that are more effective at trapping contaminants and will last for longer than panel filters. Depending on the filter’s efficiency and how much you use your AC or heater, expect to change a pleated filter every 3 to 6 months.

Finally, some filters don’t need to change, permanent filters. But you’re not off the hook for keeping them from becoming congested. A permanent filter must be removed every 1 or 2 months and cleaned with a garden hose on low pressure. Permanent filters aren’t recommended for HVAC systems because they have the weakest filtration power and they often develop mold and mildew in them over time.

When you need assistance with your air conditioning this summer in Des Moines, IA, call Golden Rule.

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