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Different HVAC Air Filters and How Often to Change or Clean Them

Now that it’s almost the official start of the summer and temperatures are on the rise, make certain that you’ve already had your spring air conditioning maintenance visit. (You can find out about our maintenance program here.) If you already had your professional maintenance done, then you’ll have a clean filter in the HVAC system that’s ready to see that the air conditioner is able to draw enough air through the return vents to work properly.

But over the next few months, the filter will start to clog up with debris. Eventually it will need to be replaced or cleaned. Below are the varieties of HVAC system filters, and how often you’ll need to attend to them to keep your AC working in prime condition:

Permanent filter

A permanent filter doesn’t need to be changed out, of course. But it needs regular cleaning. Check on it each month to see if it’s fully coated with dust, lint, and other debris, and clean it using a garden hose on low pressure if it is. You’ll probably need to clean it every two months on average.

Temporary panel filter

These filters are the least expensive type of temporary filter. They’re made from fiberglass and cost about a dollar each when you purchase them in packs from a hardware store. They are more effective filters than permanent filters, but not as powerful as pleated filters. Usually, a panel filter will need to be replaced each month. Write in marker along the side of the filter the date it was put in; that way you’ll know when it’s time to change it.

Temporary pleated filter

The polyester weave and design of pleated filters make them effective at stopping many contaminants. (Be careful you don’t have a filter that’s too powerful, however, since it will choke off airflow.) This type of filter can sometimes go for up to 6 months before it needs to be swapped out, although less expensive ones may last for 3 months.

Malek Heating & Cooling has serviced Winnetka, IL and the Chicagoland area with excellent HVAC maintenance and repairs since 1998.

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