Air conditioners are expensive, especially if you have to buy a whole new system. But repairs can also be costly, especially if you have an emergency during the peak summer or winter months. Depending on what's broken and how busy the season is, repairs can cost you, on average, between $163 and $528.
Luckily, most of the problems that can land you with a hefty bill are easy to fix with a little preventative maintenance. Things like keeping your vents clean, taking note when it seems like you have a freon leak, and keeping a gas furnace clean seem like small chores but add up into huge savings. But the most important maintenance step is changing your air conditioning's filter at least once a season.
Why is changing out the filter so important?
Air conditioning filters perform an essential task. They clean the temperature controlled air that circulates throughout your home. Depending on whether you have a flat fiberglass filter or a thick accordion HEPA filter, it can block everything from pet hair to microscopic pathogens. But everything that gets pulled out of the air stays trapped in that filter. Over time, the filter will get thicker and thicker. This means the air will have a harder and harder time getting through.
Ultimately, this will overwork your air conditioning unit. Your appliance will notice that the temperature is being modulated appropriately or that there's not enough airflow. So the parts will work to push the air through. This can drastically reduce the lifespan of your unit. It also means the air might eventually have an easier time getting around the edge of the filter than going through it, and your air is no longer filtered.
How do you know it's time to change the filter?
Check the manufacturer's recommendation. They offer a safe baseline of time during which their filter will work reasonably well. But change it more regularly if you have pets, children, or allergies. You should also change it every time you deep clean your house because the filter picked up a lot of the released dust, dirt, and mildew.
If you want to know more about preventative A/C maintenance that can save you money, read through our tips here.
-A R Engh Team