Dust. Mold. Pet dander. Pollen. Smoke.
Air filters play an important role in filtering out the natural particulates and pollution in your home. Not only is it important to change your filter regularly to maintain good air quality, but it is essential to extend the lifespan of your equipment.
The most common reason for heating and cooling equipment breakdowns is a dirty air filter.
Changing your air filter regularly–before it becomes clogged–allows air to pass through the filter easily, preventing undo stress on your HVAC equipment. Dirty air filters cause your air conditioner and heating equipment to work harder in order to pull air into the system. This extra energy needed means not only higher energy bills but also potentially expensive equipment repairs.
There is also the likely growth of mold or bacteria colonies in all of the added layers of dirt/dust, hair, material fibers, etc. that build up on a dirty air filter–yuck! This can introduce allergens and pollutants into your indoor air. If these pollutants and allergens get into your HVAC system this could cause trouble for the system and the air your breath.
If your home feels stuffy and you aren’t getting enough air circulation, change that filter!
Imagine blowing up a balloon. In your first attempt you try to add air to the balloon by blowing through layers and layers of blankets. It would not be easy! It would take considerably more time and effort to fill the balloon.
Now imagine trying to blow up that balloon, but only having to blow through a tissue. Easy, right?!
This is similar to how your furnace and AC functions with a clogged filter versus a clean, regularly replaced air filter.
As the HVAC motor attempts to pull air through a clogged filter, the restricted air flow makes it difficult to pass through. This restriction causes undo stress on your heating and cooling system resulting in increased strain on the motor, higher energy needs (AMP draw), and increased energy bills. This can also cause the system to overheat while in the heat mode or freeze up while in the AC mode.
When to Change Your Air Filter
We recommend changing your filter regularly – at least at the beginning of each season, or more frequently if you have pets, live in a high-pollen area, or are a smoker. Changing an air filter is usually a simple task that can be done by the homeowner.
When selecting the type of filter for your home we generally recommend an inexpensive filter that allows airflow to be less restricted and to simply change the filter more frequently. There are “gold” filters and those that claim to help with pollutants and pollen; often times, however, they have a tight mesh that restricts the airflow and prevents your equipment from operating properly.
Filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV. The higher the MERV, the tighter the mesh on the filter. Check the documentation for your equipment as to what size air filter and which MERV range best suits your equipment.
Maintenance & Inspection
Routine maintenance is the key to the longevity of your equipment, efficiency of its operation, and lower energy bills.
Just change that filter!
If it is exceptionally dirty and you haven’t had your HVAC system checked recently, consider a call to Your Plumber for an inspection of your entire heating & cooling system. Preventative maintenance will not only save you money, but also provide a pleasant home environment year-round for you and your family.