An essential part of every HVAC system is the air filter. Sadly, it is also the most ignored part. Since most heating and cooling system problems find their roots in a dirty air filter, we thought it’s time to brush up some basics. So, for those who are completely unaware of the importance of changing the air filter and those who choose to ignore it, this article will make for a good read.
The Work Of An Air Filter
As is clear from the name itself, the air filter purifies the air. Typically, indoor air appears to be clean, but in reality, it is not so. Indoor air is laden with dust, pollen, dander, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, VOCs, etc. The point is, assuming the indoor air to be clean will not make it so. This is where the need for an air filter arises.
An important and integral part of modern HVAC systems is the air filter. When the air passes through the air filter, its fine mesh-like structure captures the suspended particles. This way, the air that re-enters your home is clean and safer to breathe.
Why Changing The Air Filter Is Important?
Think of the air filter as a cloth that you use for dusting. Over time, if you use the same cloth, again and again, it becomes dirty. So dirty that after some time, instead of cleaning the surface, it adds to the already present mess.
In the same manner, continuous use without changing the air filter leads to its clogging. As a result, it is unable to perform the entrusted task of purifying the air. Therefore, it is essential to change the air filters periodically.
What Happens When The Air Filter Becomes Too Dirty?
A dirty air filter is asking for trouble to invade your space. Had the damage been limited to just that, you may still overlook it. Indeed it can even harm your expensive heating and cooling equipment. Here’s what can happen when the air filter is excessively dirty:
1. Decreases The Efficiency – Unrestricted flow of air is critical to maintaining the efficiency of the HVAC system. If the airflow is restricted, it means that the unit is not receiving air in sufficient quantity. A system that cannot breathe freely can obviously not supply treated air as required. A blocked air filter is the main stumbling block. Since your system cannot drawn-in sufficient air, it cannot send out treated air in ample quantities. To provide the same amount of heating and cooling as before, your unit now has to work longer, and even then, it may still fail to do the job to satisfaction. You land up with a bigger energy bill than before without any addition to your comfort.
2. Puts Strain – When the air conditioner and furnace work longer than necessary, it puts unnecessary strain on the unit. The result of this undue pressure is increased wear and tear and overheating of components. The two things might sound like a small inconvenience, but they can lead to bigger problems like unwarranted breakdowns. Your unit becomes unreliable and will malfunction from time to time leading to expensive repair and replacement bills. Therefore, allowing the HVAC system to work under continuous strain is a costly mistake.
3. Can Cause Allergies And Illness – Once the air filter becomes completely blocked, it is unable to draw out the pollutants from the indoor air. As a result, the indoor air quality deteriorates. A family with robust health may not suffer from any serious repercussions. Yet, even the members of such families will fall ill more often than before. Serious repercussions of poor indoor air quality can be felt by those families where elders and infants all live together. Since the immunity of the individuals in this age group is naturally low, their health tends to suffer the most. Therefore, for the well-being of the family and building occupants, it is necessary to change the air filter periodically.
Frequency Of Changing The Air Filter
The recommended period or frequency of changing the air filter is every month. Though if you feel that your air filter looks as if it may still have some life left, we suggest you monitor the situation every couple of days. At the first sign of more dirt clinging to its surface or its color-changing to dirty brown, replace the filter with a clean one.
A critical point to remember is that at no point should you exceed the period of a quarter between two air filter replacements. Even though on the surface it may look clean yet within its mesh are trapped millions of germs. Hence, preferably change the air filter every month, and if that’s too soon, then at least once a quarter.
While Replacing Air Filter Check Manufacturer’s Recommendation For Configuration
While replacing the dirty air filter with a new one, you need to be careful. Check the manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. Buying an air filter with a higher MERV rating than recommended by the manufacturer is a big NO.
If you wish to maintain good air quality indoors and not put your heating and cooling system under any unwarranted pressure, you need to change the air filter. The best practice, which the HVAC contractors and manufacturers also promote, is to replace it monthly.
Aztil Air Conditioning cares about the quality of the air you breathe. We cannot do anything about the air pollution outdoors, but within your residential and commercial building, we can help you create a healthy living environment. We are a family-owned HVAC business, operating successfully in South Florida since 1981. Along with standard HVAC installation, repairs, and maintenance, we also offer air quality solutions. If you wish to discuss the options available to keep your indoor air hygienic, contact us any time at +1-888-729-8452. We are open 24/7 and 365 days a year so feel free to contact us at your convenience. Somebody trained, and experience will always be there to help you.