One of the most basic and important tasks you need to take care of to maintain your air conditioner is filter changes. Making mistakes or neglecting your filter replacement procedures could damage your air conditioner, detract from HVAC efficiency, and compromise interior air quality over time.

The following are six mistakes to avoid when it comes to your air conditioner's air filter. 

Failing to take advantage of timed filter change reminders

A lot of AC thermostats are designed so that you can set a reminder that will indicate when it's time to change your filter. This is a feature you should definitely take advantage of so that you know you won't accidentally overlook filter changes.

Assuming your air filter only needs to be changed as often as the manufacturer recommends

While manufacturer recommendations provide a good guideline for how often you should replace your air filter, in some cases you may need to change your filter more often than recommended.

Certain factors wear out AC unit air filters prematurely because they increase the number of contaminants in a home's air. Some examples include having pets in the home, having a home with larger square footage, and living in a home that is particularly dusty.

If any of these factors apply in your home, you should change your AC air filter more often than the manufacturer recommends. 

Neglecting to completely turn off your AC unit before filter replacement

Turning your AC off is important to ensure that your filter replacement goes smoothly and efficiently. Don't simply turn down your thermostat to stop your AC before changing the filter. You should also disconnect the AC entirely during filter changes.

Turning off and disconnecting your AC unit is important because some models are designed with wiring located near the filter. This wiring could shock you while you're changing your AC filter if your unit isn't off and disconnected. 

Purchasing air filters individually

An AC air filter is a part of your AC unit that you know you will need to change repeatedly throughout the lifespan of your HVAC equipment.

Therefore, it's a good idea to stock up on filters. You'll enjoy lower prices for buying larger quantities. You also won't have to worry about not having a spare filter around when it's time for a change. 

Using the wrong filter type

Running your AC unit with the wrong filter in place will lead to less-effective air filtration. This could increase the chances that clogs will develop in your HVAC equipment that can restrict airflow. 

Trying to change your filter when you're not sure exactly what you're doing

Only attempt to change your AC air filter independently if you're completely sure of what you're doing. If you're not quite sure how the filter change procedure works, you should contact your air conditioning service technician and have them perform this essential air conditioning service task.