The primary step in caring for the quality of your indoor air is ensuring that your HVAC air filters are in good condition. Neglecting your filters means that they cannot adequately perform their important role. This can not only compromise your indoor air quality, but can also affect your system performance.
The air filters on your HVAC system do more than just keep particles and allergens out of your indoor air. While the whole home air filtration system does do this efficiently, it also serves another, just as vital role; protecting your HVAC equipment from damage.
The air in your home is circulated into the air handler to that your HVAC system can cool or heat it. Without an effective air filter, dust, particles and other debris can be pulled into the system, damaging the delicate components. For this reason, it is important that your air filters are correctly placed and working at optimum performance, particularly during periods of heavy system use.
The Effects of a Dirty Air Filter:
Air filters are designed to trap particles of dust, dirt and other debris. This works very well until the filter becomes full. When a filter becomes clogged, it is almost as bad as not having a filter fitted. Not only will the excess particles be free to be pulled into the air handler, but the clogged filter will restrict the airflow. This forces the system to work harder to push air through the ductwork. When the airflow is compromised, your HVAC system will expend more and more energy trying to maintain the desired temperature. You may notice that hot or cold spots develop in certain areas of your home or that your energy bills significantly increase. If left unchecked clogged air filters could even compromise the lifespan of your equipment, as the increasing strain causes components to suffer excessive wear and tear. Some systems are designed to avoid this excessive strain with a safety cut out. In this scenario, you may not be able to turn on your HVAC system until the clogged filter is cleared and the system has been reset.
Changing Your Filters:
Despite the potentially dire consequences of clogged air filters, changing them is actually quite simple. The procedure for replacing HVAC air filters varies according to the manufacturer and model, but the full instructions can usually be found in the owner’s manual. If you are still unsure about how to change the filters on your system, ask your HVAC technician. Most manufacturers recommend changing air filters approximately every one to two months, but you may need to change your filters more frequently if the system is heavily used, you have pets, or someone in your household smokes. It is also important to replace your HVAC filters with the correct component. Although there are cheaper, generic products available, if the filter does not fit correctly, you will be allowing debris to escape into your air handler, and you could experience problems.
Changing HVAC air filters is a relatively simple and inexpensive task, but you may be surprised at the potential problems you can avoid by ensuring that your air filters are not neglected.