Next to your home and your car the air conditioning system or systems is the most expensive thing you own. Most people know they need regular maintenance on their cars; it is the same for your ac system. Especially in the Niceville, Destin area of Florida where sand and dust are so common.
The easiest for the homeowner to do is inspect and or replace the return air filters for the unit. I recommend they be removed and looked at at least monthly. It is essential for you unit to be able to draw the air it needs to perform at peak efficiency. As filters start to plug with dirt the unit will require more electricity to operate. Also a lack of proper airflow will decrease the comfort you feel in your home and possibly lead to other indoor air quality issues.
The other things dirty filters do to your system are, increased energy consumption, increases corrosion on the indoor unit, costly repair bill to clean, and early compressor failure. Compressor and or coil replacements could be up to a couple of thousand dollars depending on size and brand.
The type of filter you use should be evaluated and recommended by your trusted AC company. A filter that is to good my not have enough surface area to properly feed your unit and would be worse than a bad filter. On the other note a cheap filter may allow to much dirt into your unit which could plug the coil and lead to above mentioned problems.
We recommend an inexpensive filter in your return air grill and have an “air cleaner” type unit installed under your air handling unit. We recently installed this combination for a customer and have included results with pictures below. The customer used a medium quality filter in his return air grills to help keep the return air duct clean and then had an Aprilaire 4” pleated media unit install with his indoor unit. He changed his filter every month wether he felt they needed it or not, and the pictures prove the amount of dirty allow to be able to pass thru the indoor unit and back into the home. The 4” filter pictured below was replaced after one year. As you can see even though you think you are doing the right thing something can always be better.
Attached is a link for the Aprilaire unit we recommend to ensure the maximum life expectancy of your system. Follow the link for more information as to how this can help you: Aprilaire