Minor maintenance tasks are so small that people tend to overlook them as unnecessary at times. However, when these minor tasks are forgotten or put off for too long, they can easily turn into major problems. Your air conditioning and heating system is one of many things that requires periodic maintenance to run properly, primarily due to some of the hazards and struggles it has to work around in order to do its job. One of these factors is the dust, dirt, and dander present in your home, all of which could eventually build up on your air conditioner’s condensation coil, resulting in reduced effectiveness, increased energy consumption, or worse—a full system freeze.
Fortunately your HVAC system has a solution to prevent this from happening: an air filter. This small yet immensely important part of your heater and air conditioner is designed to remove dust, dander, pollen, pet hair, mold spores, and other airborne pathogens before they can get in and damage your air conditioning unit. These filters are generally extremely easy to replace, taking just a few minutes, and new filters generally cost just a few dollars at your local home improvement store. Let’s take a closer look at why and how often you need to change your air filter.
Consequences of a Clogged Filter
Your central heating and cooling system is designed to take in a certain amount of air through the return vent(s), condition it by blowing the air over the evaporator coil, and then circulate it back into your house. As air is pulled through the return vent, it passes through your air filter, leaving behind the airborne allergens and other materials. However, over time the filter will begin to fill up with particulates, resulted in restricted air flow.
Restricted air flow puts a lot of additional strain on your HVAC system. When the filter is clogged, the blower fan motor has to work harder to pull air through the filter to be conditioned, which drives up your utility bills, and could lead to the fan motor burning up or other system malfunctions.
If your filter is dirty, some of these dust particles will get through the filter, making everything beyond it dirty as well. Dirty evaporator coils allow water to condense and chill, eventually freezing into ice, and a buildup of ice accumulation eventually leads to the coil freezing up entirely. A frozen coil blocks air flow, which dramatically increases the chances of a total system failure. Excess dirt, dust, and dander also end up in your home’s ductwork, compromising the quality of your indoor air.
When Should I Change my Filter?
Despite the ease of replacement and low cost of a new HVAC filter, many people simply forget that they need to change theirs out. This is mostly due to the fact that most people don’t know they should be changing their filter far more frequently than they do. How often you have to change your air filter will vary greatly depending on the amount and type of airborne particulates that your filter must remove. Some homes have more while others have less, but regardless, changing your HVAC air filter regularly is imperative to the proper function of your home comfort system.
For the average home, it’s strongly suggested that you change your filter at the very minimum at least once per year, usually in early spring so you have a brand new filter which can catch as much of the pollen, dander, and other material floating in the air around this time. However, if you have a pet, a larger home, or run your system a lot, you should change your filter twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. You should inspect your filter periodically as well to make sure it’s still in good working order and you can change it as soon as necessary.
What Kind of Filter Should I Buy?
With so many options to choose from, selecting an appropriate filter for your home may seem like a daunting task. Filters are rated based on percentage of airborne particles they remove from your indoor air, and they are grated on a scale known as the MERV rating. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter, and the more airborne particles removed.
We recommend buying a filter with at least a MERV 8 rating (they ensure good air flow while offering some HVAC system protection. However, if you’re super serious about the quality of your indoor air you may be interested in selecting a MicroPower Guard® electronic filter. MicroPower Guard® filters use electronically charged carbon to capture an incredible 97% of airborne particles. These are perfect for families in which one or more people deal with severe allergies or asthma.
At Carney & Son 72 Degrees, we can help you install one of these electronically charged MicroPower Guard® filters! Call our office today at , or submit a form submission through our website for more information on having a year supply of filters drop-shipped to your door.