How Often Should You Change Your Air Conditioner Filter?

Are you having problems with your HVAC system? Call the most reliable air conditioning service in Maricopa, AZ, Felix Appliance Repair, at 480-406-7487 for prompt, professional assistance. 

Any time you have a problem with your air conditioning and look for answers, either online or from a professional, the first answer you’ll probably find is, “Check the air filter.” Even when you schedule maintenance, your technician will remind you to change the filter regularly. But how often should you change your air conditioner filter for optimum performance?

Although the standard interval for filter changes is 90 days, several factors can determine whether you need to replace it more frequently or can afford to wait longer. Here, the experts of Felix Appliance and Repair offer some guidelines to help maximize system performance, preserve its lifespan, and ensure excellent air quality.

how often should you change your air conditioner filter

Factors That Influence the Frequency of Air Filter Changes

To answer the question, “How often should you change your air conditioner filter?” we need to examine several factors. Although the general rule is that the more you use your home and produce contaminants, the more often you should change the filter, considering a few specific elements of your lifestyle and the system will ensure you develop the best schedule. 

Filter Type

HVAC system air filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating. The MERV rating indicates how effectively the filter stops contaminants from entering the HVAC system; the higher the rating, the smaller the particles it can block.

Although you should never use a filter with a higher MERV rating than the equipment manufacturer recommends, if you opt to use one higher than the typical eight to 11 rating, expect more frequent changes. This is because the smaller pores create more resistance to airflow, especially when blocked by dust and debris. Blocked air means more strain on the system and more risk of a breakdown. 


If you have pets, you must change the air filter more frequently to avoid dander buildup. If you have a single dog or cat, plan to change the filter every 60 days. Add more pets, and you’ll need more frequent updates, as often as every 20 to 45 days. 


In a hot and dusty environment like the Maricopa area, you’ll need to change the filter more often to manage all the contaminants from outdoors. The more polluted and dusty the outdoor air, the more often you need a new filter. Just living on a busy road can also decrease the recommended interval from 90 days to 30 to 60 days. 

Home Size

Larger homes typically need new air conditioning filters more often because they circulate more air through the HVAC system. But keep in mind, a smaller home may also have smaller equipment, which also needs a new filter sooner.


The more people who live in the house, the more often you’ll have to change out the filter on the air conditioner. If you live alone, a 90-day interval is fine, but as the number of other people and pets increases, the days between changes decrease. Maintaining good air quality requires a new filter every 20 to 45 days, especially if anyone in the home smokes. 


Although the purpose of HVAC air filters is to protect sensitive mechanical components from dust, not to remove contaminants from the air, installing a HEPA filter can help clean the air of allergens. To keep pet dander, pollen, dust, mold spores, and other allergens out of the air, change the filter every 30 to 60 days. 

When Can I Go Longer Between Changes?

Sometimes, you can extend the time between filter replacements by several months. For example, if you have a vacation home that you only use occasionally, you might be able to go up to a year between changes. If you only switch on the air conditioner every so often, the filter stays clean longer. 

You can also extend the interval if you live alone, don’t have any pets, and don’t smoke. As you become more familiar with your system and the condition of the old filter, whenever you put in a new one, you’ll get a good sense of the perfect schedule for your equipment. 

Let Felix Appliance Repair Take Care of Your HVAC Equipment

Keeping up with air filter changes can increase HVAC efficiency by up to 15%. For more advice about questions like, “How often should you change your air conditioner filter?” and professional AC maintenance, call 480-406-7487. Get in touch with the experts at Felix Appliance Repair and keep your equipment in top working condition.