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The A/C Guy of Tampa Bay Inc. Blog

A Brief Guide to Changing Your AC’s Air Filter


You may have big plans for your cooling system this summer, such as arranging for a new AC installation in Tampa, FL, or making upgrades to the thermostat, or adding a zone control system. But one job never changes from year to year, no matter the type of AC you have or the features it comes with: regularly changing the air conditioner’s air filter.

An air filter change is a part of the regular maintenance job our technicians do each year when you schedule spring maintenance. But an air conditioner needs more than one filter change per year. You’ll need to take care of this task throughout the rest of spring, through the summer, and into the fall. 

What do you need to know about changing your AC’s filter? We have all the important information gathered here. If you need additional help, our team is ready to assist!

Why does the filter need regular changes?

A filter gradually builds up an accumulation of dust, lint, and other debris that comes through the return air ducts from the house. The filter stops these particles from entering the rest of the HVAC system, but after enough time the filter will become so dirty that it will restrict airflow. If a clogged filter is left in place, it can lead to numerous problems:

  • A drop in AC energy efficiency and a subsequent rise in utility bills.
  • The evaporator coil freezing.
  • The blower overheating and tripping the AC’s circuit breaker.
  • A decline in airflow from the vents around the house.
  • Dust and debris getting around the filter and damaging the interior of the HVAC system

How often do I need to change the filter?

This depends on the type of filter. The stronger the filter, the less frequently you’ll need to put in a new one. Here’s a guide to the most common types of filters:

  • Panel Filter: These are the least expensive type. They usually need to be replaced every month.
  • Pleated Filters: These filters are stronger and have more surface area. They usually need replacing every 3 months.
  • Media Filters: These 6” filters are the most powerful filters that most HVAC systems can manage. They can last for up to 6 months before needing replacement.

How do I change the filter?

You’ll find the filter located on the HVAC cabinet at the point where the return air duct connects to the blower assembly. The filter is in a slot, and you can slide it out to put in a new one. When you put in the new filter, make sure it faces the correct direction. An arrow on the filter itself will show you which way to place it. With a marker, write the date you put the filter in place so you’ll know when to change it.

In some homes, the filter isn’t located on the HVAC cabinet but behind the return air vent inside the house. Open the vent to remove the filter and put in the replacement.

If you need any help, you can ask our technicians to show you the process during maintenance. 

The A/C Guy of Tampa Bay Inc. serves our Tampa Bay family with integrity and honor. Schedule all your air conditioning services in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough Counties with us.

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