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Replace AC filters regularly for fresh, dust-free home

A clean air filter (left) cuts down on dust and creates a fresher home. A dirty filter (right) puts stress on your HVAC system.

When the spring cleaning urge kicks in this year, don’t forget to freshen up your air along with your house.

Cleaning the air in your home is as easy as changing your air filter on a regular basis. The standard 1-inch filters should be changed every month, while 4-inch filters should be switched out every three to four months, according to Stephanie Wiginton, general manager of Wayne’s Air, 3007 RR 1431 West in Kingsland.

Fiberglass filters, which can be purchased at home improvement or grocery stores, are the best, she continued.

“The cheaper, the better,” Wiginton said.

Fiberglass filters cut down on the restricted air flow experienced with some of the more expensive hypoallergenic air filters.

"The HVAC system has to work harder to pull the air through the filters,” she said. “A lot of people want to buy hypoallergenic filters, but at the end of the day, they may cause more damage to the system.”

For individuals with allergies, she suggests installing an air purifier with a UV light to kill airborne allergens.

Whatever filter you use, change it out as soon as it gets dirty. Once the filter gets dirty, rather than collecting particles, it blows them around the house, adding to the dust problem. A dirty filter also puts stress on the HVAC system.

“A dirty filter will not allow the air to cool, causing leaks, or running harder to get more air, and it can burn up the coil,” Wiginton said. “If you keep up with the maintenance, you prolong the life of your AC unit.”

The filter might need to be changed more often if the house is home to pets that shed a lot. Filters also should be changed frequently in homes near dusty roads or on streets with lots of traffic and exhaust.

To easily keep track of when to change filters, always do it on the same day of the month. Go with the first or last or use the date of your birthday each month.

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