We want to start off with a question. When is the last time you changed your air filter? If your answer surpasses 3 months, then the time to change it is now. This is particularly true if that air filter is being used for both your central air conditioner and your central furnace. We want you to have the most efficient and effective use out of both of these HVAC system, considering how much you get from them.
One simple way to make sure this is the case is to perform a small maintenance task on your own. For full-service maintenance, give our team a call, but this one small task is—change your air filter! You might be surprised to discover just how important this small component is to both your furnace and air conditioner. It’s about a lot more than protecting your indoor air quality. In fact, it’s not even there to protect your indoor air quality. So, what does it do?
The Purpose of Your Air Filter
The main purpose of your HVAC system air filter is not to protect your indoor air quality, as we mentioned above, but instead to protect the inside components of the HVAC system itself. Today’s filters are designed to optimize air quality as much as possible. But since your furnace’s blower fan suck in air at such a high speed, it also sucks in debris.
This debris can include anything from dust and dirt to allergens like pet hair and cigarette smoke—all of when have the potential to damage your heater (and air conditioner, when warmer temps swing back around). The filter is in place to protect the system from these particles. A dirty or clogged up furnace can certainly cause you some grief.
What Happens with a Dirty Furnace Filter?
Both of your central HVAC systems are meant to take in a set amount of air with each cycle they go through. This airflow helps make sure you’ll always feel comfortable, but also that the HVAC system motor doesn’t run too long. Debris clogs up the filter, and therefore doesn’t allow the right amount of air through.
All of this negatively affects more than just your comfort—sure you’ll feel less comfortable but it also means you’re paying more to even use your furnace, since it’s going to have to run nonstop in order to reach your desired temperature on the thermostat, with limited airflow.
A clogged up air filter will lead to problems like:
- Overheating motors
- Emergency repair needs
- Freezing coils
“Can’t I Just Clean My Air Filter?”
Sure, if it is a reusable filter! Otherwise, changing it every 1-3 months is going to be your best bet. And the thing is, changing it is one of the best ways to prevent the above mentioned problem. The timing of your filter changes will rely on the type of filter you have, but usually it says right there on the side of the filter how often it should be changed out.
To change it, you’ll find the existing filter in a marked point near your air handler, with arrows directing you on how and where to take it out. From there, you can dispose of it and put in the new one.
If you do have a reusable air filter that can be cleaned, be sure that when you clean it, it’s completely dry before you put it back in. Taking this precaution will help you avoid mold growth within your HVAC system.