While most of your home's air conditioning system services can and should be maintained by a professional - if simply because it elongates the life of your unit - there are other services that should be performed by the homeowner on a regular basis. One of these is changing out the air filter in your home regularly. While most homes only have one, some may have two or even three air filters, so it's important to have them changed regularly to keep crime and dust from building up on your ductwork and your system and necessitating a full HVAC replacement.
But how often do they need to be changed? Most experts agree that around every 3 to 6 months is the optimal time to replace your air filter, but that number can change based on a few different factors.
Size of Your Household
As mentioned above, the number of air filters you have in your home can change based on how large your home is, but how large your home is doesn't always equate to more people or pets inside your home. If you have a lot of people in a tiny space, there's going to naturally be more air pollution that kicks up over time, so will be a good idea to replace your air filter every month instead of every three months. Conversely, if you have a large home and only a few people living inside of it, you could probably get away with a less frequent replacement if you wanted to.
Family Health Issues
If you have anybody in your home that suffers from allergy or breathing issues, you should not only replace your air filter more often, but you should also do so with a higher quality filter as well. Some air filters not only filter out dust and dirt, but also pet dander and other allergens in the environment, which can make a huge impact on your family's health. By any account, you should not allow your air filter to go longer than six months without being changed. It will not only harm your AC system, but can also cause severe breathing issues with people in your home.
Different parts of the United States can kick up different levels of contaminants in your atmosphere. The wide-open plains of Kansas and the Texas Panhandle, for instance, generally have more dirt, as to areas that have new constructions going on. Moreover, if you live in an area that has a lot of trees, you may also have a high pollen count on a regular basis. Both of these factors should require more regular replacement, as the level of contaminants in the air is higher than in other places.