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How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter In South Carolina?

Air filters are crucial for maintaining both your air conditioner's efficiency and the air quality in your home. Often overlooked, these filters can lead to significant issues if not managed properly. In South Carolina, the replacement frequency can range from monthly to every six months, depending on various factors.

This article will explore:

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Understanding Air Filters and Their Importance

Air filters are your home's first line of defense against airborne pollutants like pollen and dust. They ensure clean airflow while preventing debris from entering the AC system. Neglecting to change a clogged filter can strain your AC, increase energy costs, and accelerate wear and tear, potentially leading to expensive repairs.

How Often You Should Replace or Clean Air Filters

Many factors impact the cleaning frequency of air filters. First, it's important to know if you need to keep replacement filters on hand or if you can simply clean the filter installed in your system.

If you have a ductless mini-split system, you have filters that require regular cleaning. With standard use, you'll need to clean it every 1 to 2 months. HVAC systems with ductwork usually require filter replacements every 1 to 3 months. Some of the factors that might mean you need to clean or replace more frequently include:

  • Type of Filter: Air filters are generally categorized as replaceable or reusable. Replaceable fiberglass filters typically need to be changed every 1 to 3 months, whereas high-efficiency MERV filters, with ratings of 11 or higher, can last between 3 to 6 months or more. Reusable filters require frequent cleaning to maintain efficiency, ideally monthly, especially in areas like South Carolina, which is known for high pollen levels in spring and summer.
  • Home Usage: The frequency of filter maintenance is significantly influenced by household factors. Pet owners should plan to change standard fiberglass filters monthly. In contrast, homes without pets and outside peak growing seasons can extend filter usage to 3 months. High occupancy homes, such as a two-bedroom apartment shared by four adults, necessitate monthly filter changes or cleanings. Additionally, individuals with health conditions like asthma or allergies may need to regularly clean or replace filters to ensure optimal indoor air quality.
  • Environmental Factors: South Carolina's climate, characterized by high pollen counts, mainly during spring, necessitates frequent filter changes or cleanings to combat tree allergies and maintain air quality.

DIY Tips for Replacing Your Air Filter

You don't always need to call in a professional when replacing or cleaning your air filter. As long as you know the right size for your unit, it's often a matter of simply sliding the new filter into place. Just be sure to find the best filter available — one with the highest MERV rating that fits your machine. Typically, you'll be looking for a MERV filter rated somewhere between 6 and 13, depending on what fits.

Before you put in the new filter, turn off the system completely. This prevents dirt or debris from getting into your ductwork while handling the replacement. Once you start doing air filter replacement or cleaning, make sure to do it on a regular schedule. Set reminders or put them on your calendar to ensure you don't forget.

Need help picking the right air filter? Ask the experts at Comfort Systems!

We have more than 55 years of experience keeping all air conditioners tuned up and ready for summer. With our small-town approach to customer satisfaction and commitment to great customer experiences, we're proud to be your first choice for service.