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Filter Facts: Why Changing Filters Is Central to Effective AC Tune-Ups

05/24/24

HELP has been teaching homeowners in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky the importance of air conditioner filters through routine maintenance services so we can ensure households are comfortable, prepared, and safe.

Every member of HELP’s team is certified, licensed, and insured. So, when your air conditioner is serviced regularly, you are able to rest assured that your system will be operating at peak condition all year round, come rain or shine.

This article focuses on a single component of your air conditioner system: the filters.

Though they are a solitary element, you should not underestimate their importance. But why? What makes air conditioner filters so crucial? What happens if you do not change them? How often should homeowners be changing their air conditioner’s filter and how do you do it yourself at home?

Why Are Your Air Conditioner’s Filters So Important?

The filters in an air conditioning system are essential, but so many homeowners overlook their importance.

An air conditioner filter creates a lightweight barrier that traps dirt, dust, and other allergens circulating in the air. This prevents your family from inhaling these pollutants.

Filters also make your HVAC system operate much smoother. If kept in good condition, they can extend the lifespan of your machine and reduce the need for costly repairs.

However, so many people do not change their air conditioner filters as often as they should because they are widely underestimated. This, in turn, leads to a wide range of problems that require more costly repairs.

If you are exposed to the consequences of using an air filter that needs to be replaced, it becomes clear that swapping out dirty air filters for new ones is a far more cost-friendly strategy than waiting for your air conditioner to show a fault.

Plus, you are in control of the efficiency of your system if you are proactive in changing dirty air filters. Waiting and allowing them to clog up may result in losing your air conditioner in the midst of a heatwave.

On top of this, it is far healthier for your family to change your air conditioner filters. This is because dirty air filters result in poor indoor air quality.

What Happens If You Do Not Change Your Air Filters?

Neglecting your air filters is not only detrimental to your bank account. Using dirty or clogged air filters can have a range of consequences.

1. Poor Indoor Air Quality

Though we all acknowledge the toxicity of outdoor pollution, we do not hold the same standard of importance for indoor air. This is dangerous, particularly when you consider the fact that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside and that we spend 90% of our lives indoors.

 

Clogged or dirty air filters trap both air and moisture, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, particularly in humid conditions.

Not only will this bacteria and mold block your filter, but they will also expand into your HVAC system. The result is that the microbes will seep into the air inside your home, being inhaled by every member of your family.

This is unhealthy for everyone and should be prevented by changing your filters. For family members who suffer from allergies, in particular, this deterioration of air quality can cause some real discomfort and suffering.

If the dirty air filters are left neglected, long-term health conditions can develop, specifically in babies, young children, and the elderly.

1. Varying Air Temperatures

If your air filters are blocked or clogged with dirt and debris, your system will struggle to blow out the necessary air to cool (or heat) your home. As such, certain areas inside your home will be noticeably warmer and cooler than others.

This is frustrating as well as a waste of money. Whenever your system needs to work harder than it should, it eats away at more energy, which is reflected in your energy bills.

Dirty air filters can also cause difficulty between the temperature sensors and your system. These sensors send signals to your HVAC system, telling it to start and stop, meaning you may experience intermittent and almost random heating and cooling.

Of course, this is uncomfortable. The operation is unsustainable and inefficient, and you will notice a much more costly repair bill than simply changing your air filter. This is due to the extreme strain on your air conditioner’s fan motor, which is not a low-cost repair.

2. Higher Risk Of System Failure

As mentioned before, a fan motor problem is costly. However, the fan motor is integral to your air conditioner’s performance, so if it is struggling, you may need an entire replacement rather than a repair.

If the moving air is constricted, your system is likely to overheat and freeze, putting it at a far greater risk of complete system failure.

If you change your air filters, the air will move more easily. However, if the air filter is dirty, it can become trapped, making it more challenging for your HVAC system to operate.

1. Dirty Air Ducts

If pollutants and allergens build up inside your air ducts, your HVAC system’s efficiency will suffer. (Your air quality will also lessen as these pollutants are released into the air.)

As such, it is important to change your air filter. This is so much quicker and less stressful than having to deal with the consequences of polluted ducts.

2. Higher Energy Bills

If your air filters are dirty and clogged, proper air circulation is extremely challenging to achieve. As such, your HVAC system has to work a lot harder to heat or cool your home.

As with any electric device, extra work requires extra energy, which is then mirrored in your energy bills.

Not only is this expensive, but it also shortens the lifespan of your HVAC. When you consider the additional costs associated with a dirty air filter, simply swapping it becomes a far more favorable strategy!

How Often Should I Be Changing My Air Conditioner’s Filters?

Most homeowners choose to change their air filters twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Though this is a good start, the best approach is to change your air filter, at least every other month. This is particularly important for homeowners with pets and/or more spacious properties.

Air filters are relatively cost-friendly, and replacing them is straightforward. All you need to do is remove the dirty filter and reinstall the new one.

Before you purchase your air filters, make sure you review your system’s documentation. This will help you determine the right size and type of filter your air conditioner requires.

How Do I Clean An Air Conditioner Filter?

 

If you would prefer to replace your air conditioner’s filters less regularly, you should, instead, make sure that the filters are cleaned. If you take this approach, be sure to replace your filters at least every three months.

Follow the steps to clean your air filters:

  1. First, make sure the power to your air conditioner is switched off.
  2. Then, locate your air filter. Usually, the air filter is found behind the front panel of the unit.
  3. Next, you will need to remove the air filter from the unit.
  4. Now, inspect your air filter. If it is reusable, hand wash it with lukewarm water and a gentle soap. However, if your air filter is disposable, you can simply remove it and replace it with a new one.
  5. Make sure you rinse the filter thoroughly. All the soap should be washed off.
  6. Place your air filter somewhere where it can air dry thoroughly. Do not reinstall it before it has dried entirely.
  7. Pop your air filter back into the unit.
  8. Make sure the front panel is secured properly.
  9. And, finally, switch the power to your air conditioner back on.

Book A Maintenance Service With HELP Today

If you are looking to extend the lifespan of your air conditioning unit or HVAC, improve your indoor air quality for safe inhalation and better both the efficiency and performance of your air conditioner, maintenance services are the answer.

If your home is in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, consider HELP’s HELP Club. As a member of HELP club, you will join thousands of homeowners who recognize the importance of AC tune-ups and maintenance. From priority scheduling to discounted services, joining the HELP club is a ticket to a more comfortable life for you and your family.

Though changing your air filters is one strategy to prevent a wide range of problems, it is important to know that there are a number of other tasks that need to be completed in every maintenance check. A professional member of our team can give you peace of mind and leave you with the knowledge that you will be making the absolute most of your HVAC system.

So, keep your home cool when it counts with HELP’s maintenance checks today, and keep your system in peak condition for the foreseeable future.

Posted in: Air Conditioning

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