If you’re like most people, you don’t think much about air filters until they need to be changed. And even then, it’s just only because you remember that your HVAC technician told you it was time. But first, let’s see how air filters work.
How do air filters work?
Air filters are usually made of rolled fiberglass or corrugated cardboard and are surrounded by a cardboard frame. They are inserted into a specific position in the HVAC system and act as barriers to prevent contaminants and other airborne particles from circulating or entering sensitive parts of the system. Some of the common things that block filters are dust, pollen, lint, mold, hair, animal hair, and bacteria.
When should you change your HVAC air filter?
Well, it depends on several factors such as:
- Type of air filter being used
- Manufacturer recommendations
- Are the filters on the ground level or in the ceiling?
- Number of people and pets living in the home
- Whether you live near a highway or some manufacturing plant
- Whether you live in an area with many allergens
All of these factors affect how often you need to change your filter. For example, if you have one pet at home, it’s recommended to change the filter every 60 days. For homes with multiple pets and residents, people with respiratory conditions, or family members with allergies, replace the filter approximately every 20 to 45 days.
But if you’re rarely used it or if you’re home alone without pets, your unit’s air filter can last for 6-12 months before needing to be replaced.
What if the air filter is clogged?
You know you should change your air filters regularly, but do you really do it? If the air filter is not replaced regularly, the system may choke. The accumulation of particles and contaminants connects to the filter and acts like a blanket blocking the airflow. Screens are designed to contain these small items, but when stacked they can create a wall that blocks all airflow. These blockages cause many problems for the entire HVAC system, some of which are:
The furnace used to power the HVAC system will work harder and harder to push air through the clogged air filter. Therefore, the most likely cause of failure is the furnace being exposed to excessive heat. This is the last thing you want to experience, especially since replacing the stove costs more than replacing the air filter.
The air filter’s purpose is to capture harmful pollutants and particles in the air before they enter your home, but when a filter is filled with dirt and dust, it can’t do its job properly. With old air filters, heating and cooling activities become increasingly difficult. Not only do these systems have to work harder to function properly, but the air that is distributed by an aging filter can contain dirt, dust, and other small particles that accumulate over time.
This can make it much more difficult for your HVAC system to achieve the desired temperature and potentially reduce air quality in your home as it circulates throughout and begins to build up indoors. It is important to check and change out your 20x22x1 air filter regularly for maximum efficiency of your HVAC system and optimal comfort and air quality in your home. Hence, the system runs at its best level of performance.
Higher Energy Bills
When air cannot flow properly through the system, the system has to work harder to distribute heat or air where it is needed. This impacts higher electricity bills as your system runs for a longer period.
Frozen coils are another result of not replacing the air filter. When dust builds up in an HVAC system, it does not transfer heat efficiently. If the coil is not maintained at the correct temperature, it may freeze. Frozen coils can reduce the effectiveness of your HVAC installation and damage the components themselves. Do not wait for damage to occur before replacing the air filter.
Poor Air Quality
When filters get clogged with dirt and debris, they can’t trap unhealthy particles like pollen, mold spores, smoke, or pet dander. This leads to poorer air quality and an increased risk of allergies or asthma symptoms for those who live inside. Furthermore, these pollutants can cause damage to furniture and other items in your home over time because they settle on surfaces throughout the house.
Excess Wear & Tear on HVAC System Parts
If an old filter isn’t replaced with a new one, it can lead to wear and tear on components like coils and motors, which can cause them to break down much sooner than they would have otherwise. This causes the HVAC system to work harder to maintain the same efficiency level, resulting in higher energy bills. Additionally, as the system works harder, it will wear out faster, leading to more frequent breakdowns and costly repairs. This means more frequent repair visits by an HVAC technician, which come with hefty service fees attached each time.
Increased Indoor Humidity Levels
When a filter is clogged with dirt, it prevents proper airflow from entering your home, leading to increased humidity levels indoors. Elevated humidity levels in a home can create the perfect conditions for mold growth, which is dangerous for occupants’ health. And expensive to remove once established.
So, Change your air filters regularly!
It’s clear that if you don’t change your air filters regularly, you run the risk of experiencing all these unpleasant consequences at some point in time or another. So make sure you’re routinely checking/replacing them so that you don’t have any problems down the road. By doing this small task regularly, you’ll be able to save yourself money (and headaches) later on by avoiding all. These issues altogether!
If the old filter doesn’t seem to be getting any air through, you’ll need to call in an HVAC professional. They can visit your home, inspect your system, and fix problems caused by clogged filters, thus preventing further problems in the future.
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