The air filter is the unsung hero of any HVAC system. HVAC filters are often taken for granted due to their less noticeable side effects.
We assure you that the adverse side effects of dirty filters exist. They can be just as hazardous to your health and harmful to your AC unit as the more noticeable malfunctions of its components.
The air filter plays a critical role in your Indoor Air Quality. Dust and debris build-up compromises your entire HVAC system, home, and health.
You must clean or change your air filters as soon as they get dirty!
Learn more about replacing dirty air filters below.
Are Your Air Filters Dirty?
Are you spraying on extra perfume for date night? You smell great! However, that fragrance releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the air that later turns into “that odor” that you can’t get out of your house.
Without knowing it, most of us are guilty of contributing to our home’s indoor air pollution. Here are some of the most common habits that saturate our air with particles and pathogens:
- Cooking (smoke, evaporation, ignition, condensation)
- Cleaning (air fresheners, detergents, sweeping, dusting)
- Grooming (perfumes, hairspray, loose powders, spray-tanning)
- Pets (dander, hair, excrement)
- Hobbies (spray painting, wood carving, baking, working out, lighting candles or incense, etc.)
Were you shocked? It is sometimes surprising to see the many habits we have or do that produce air pollution. Luckily, your air filter takes more care of your ambient air, saving you from inhaling too many airborne particles than your lungs can take.
As a result, they tend to saturate with dust, debris, and other contaminants. When was the last time you peeked into your HVAC unit?
Where Is My Air Filter Located?
An HVAC air filter or the ones integrated into your air conditioning system works to preserve overall air quality—poor air quality results in various problems.
Have you noticed your home’s heating and cooling systems producing indicators of a clogged filter?
Since it may take more time for your HVAC equipment to stop working properly due to a dirty or clogged HVAC filter, they may go unnoticed for longer periods. You will have to visually inspect your air filter every couple of weeks.
An air filter may lie just beneath the surface of your air conditioning unit. They are often behind the front panel of your indoor air handler. They may also be layered on top of your air vents.
Pleated and fiberglass filters are typically accessible for routine cleaning and replacement purposes. Furnace filters, on the other hand, are less accessible due to their internal placement.
On a side note: the furnace filter traps contaminants before they enter your heating system, protecting the furnace from contamination. Furnace filters don’t share the same functions as fiberglass and pleated filters. You may find the furnace filter behind the furnace doors.
Are there obvious indications that my HVAC air filter needs to be changed?
More noticeable manifestations indicate a refrigerant leak. Your AC system might suddenly stall, generate hot air, or produce a leak.
You may pick up on these indications much faster than you would those indicating you need to change your air filter.
Indications your heating and cooling system has a clogged air filter are tougher to decipher, making them easier to overlook. However, they may cause a domino effect within your AC system.
You may also notice off-season allergies, asthma, and rashes start becoming a common theme among your household’s occupants. It would be best to examine the air filter once every two weeks.
However, most air filter manufacturers recommend you change your air filter every month or as soon as they succumb to exposure, AKA when they grow mold or saturate with airborne particles.
It isn’t easy to tell when your filters need cleaning or replacement, but following the general rule of thumb should save you from hazardous contamination.
Additionally, enlisting routine AC maintenance services helps you find the right filter for your home to achieve paramount filter efficiency.
Can You Change Your Air Filter Without the Help of Professionals?
Changing air filters can be a simple maintenance task that is critical in your AC unit executing temperature change. That’s right. You should clean, repair, and change your filters or anything in your HVAC system with the proper tools and techniques.
You can ditch that old filter for a new one all by yourself. It is pretty easy to switch a dirty filter for a newer one, but first, you must know how.
In order to change a dirty air filter properly, you need to familiarize yourself with the kind you have at home. Pleated air filters may need to be changed after sixty days, but fiberglass filters may only last up to thirty days.
Some HVAC filters last much longer. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters, commonly found in most HVAC systems, can last up to twelve months.
Most AC filters can be reused but still require routine cleaning.
The Importance of Cleaning the Air Conditioner Filter
Indoor air handlers, air vents, and ductwork are all prime locations for bacteria, mold, and mildew to thrive. Their dark, humid, and isolated conditions allow hazardous elements to breed and contaminate air distribution.
We sometimes think, “it doesn’t matter. Air filters do their job even when they are dirty.” That is a dangerous thought to have regarding your air filters. We need to be more focused on dirty air filters’ many dangers.
Fewer filter changes may be responsible for more air quality and HVAC problems. Your air filters will sometimes work against your entire AC system, injecting more contaminants into your airflow than your pets, smoke, and air fresheners!
Is Cleaning the AC System Filter Necessary?
We sometimes go months without checking our air filters, leaving them to build up particles, contaminating our airflow. Check on the filter on your cooling system right now.
You might find your AC filter discolored, patchy, or growing mold. Does that sound intolerable? Well, it should because your air filter’s moldy patches of discoloration are hazardous to your health!
Less expensive fiberglass filters are especially troublesome, requiring more frequent filter cleaning and changing. Smaller filters can build up nasty debris faster, which may contaminate your air ducts.
Cleaning, repairing, or changing your air filter is not only necessary but vital. If you want reliable, clean, and cool air, you must prioritize the state of your air filter.
Is Cleaning the Air Conditioner Filter Beneficial?
Besides keeping your Indoor Air Quality up to standard, cleaning or changing your HVAC filter helps keep your systems energy-efficient!
You are not only saving your health from dangerous pathogens, but you can also save money on your energy bills. Clogged filters hinder blower fans and fan motors, impacting air circulation within your HVAC system.
If you don’t change your air filter, you may experience short-circuiting due to excessive power consumption with blower fans and motors trying harder to deliver airflow.
It may disrupt overall functions, cascading into comprehensive damages and surging energy bills. An expert AC technician won’t only help you change your air filter, which keeps your energy bills low.
They can also tell you of impending troubles due to your home’s Indoor Air Quality.
What Is Indoor Air Quality
Many homeowners aren’t familiar with Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
Do you know how many pathogens are in your air right now? Do you have multiple pets running around air handlers? Do you cook a lot of your own meals at home?
Generally, cooking your own food saves you from getting sick from unknown contaminants and helps you save money. However, all the fumes from your cooking stove can also seep into an air handler and breed contaminants.
If you do not own any pets and get most of your cooking done with a microwave, you won’t have to worry about pet hair and as many carbon emissions. That doesn’t spare your HVAC system from dust and debris!
You may still have or do things that pollute your indoor air. Open natural ventilation systems more often, such as doors and windows, to rid your home of stale old air.
It will help if we let fresh air into our homes more often to decrease the presence of particles and pathogens.
Besides opening your doors and cracking a window, try calling for expert advice. An HVAC technician may help you examine your home’s air quality and inspect your air conditioner!
Are You Looking for HVAC Experts in Washington?
We know there are some stories you have heard about AC technicians or the like. It is sometimes challenging to find reliable professionals who keep your comfort and convenience at the top of their list of priorities.
You should entrust your AC systems only with reputable professionals, preferably those who won’t cut corners at your expense!
Think you need professional Air Conditioning Repair? We conduct expert HVAC inspections and diagnostics on air conditioners anywhere in Puyallup, Washington.
Since 1984, Taylor Heating & AC has provided residents in Puyallup with reliable maintenance, Furnace & Air Handler Installation, and Replacement services.
Reach Taylor Heating & AC at (253) 208-5315
Learn more about our Maintenance Membership Plans and find one that’s right for your HVAC system.