Learning AC filter care after owning a home for the first time

It took me several to get used to home maintenance.  I spent the duration of my college years and into my early 30s living in apartments exclusively.  I was conditioned into calling the maintenance staff to my unit anytime I had anything remotely close to an issue.  I did this even if I merely lacked the right size ladder to change a light bulb on a high ceiling or had a minute drain clog.  It’s easy to take this resource for granted, particularly when you know and expect nothing else. The first year of finally owning a house at last was not what I expected.  I drove to the hardware store confused and annoyed more times than I would like to admit. Although I think I’m starting to understand basic handyman tasks and other home repairs, I am particularly embarrassed to say that I didn’t know what kind of air conditioner filter to buy when it came time to replace it the very first time.  The maintenance staff at all of my apartments even handled the air conditioning systems, so I had literally never replaced one of those filters in my life. I had to get on the internet just to figure out where the faceplate for the filter tray is located before I could even try to find the filter to determine what size fits in the machine.  Once I found the filter compartment, removed the filter, and then wrote down the measurements, I went to the hardware store to find a replacement. The only issue was that there were nearly 10 separate varieties all in that particular size and I had no clue where to start. A helpful employee pointed out a filter that has high enough allergen ratings to filter out mold and dust particles but thin enough to foster good airflow for better system efficiency.  It’s a work in progress, but I think I’m finally making headway with learning all of my necessary home maintenance skills.

HVAC device