A key part of the AC system, the air filter serves as a screening instrument that sifts unwanted particles and pollutants. These include dirt, dust, mold, pollen, fungal spores, and pet furs, among others. Because of its significance, it’s important to know everything about this major AC component and understand the benefits of cleaning and changing your air filter regularly.
Main Function of Air Filters
The AC’s air filter is an essential tool that filtrates unnecessary particles through its porous texture. Often, these are made out of very fine fiberglass material or pleated cloth outlined on a frame. Because of its sieve-like pattern, it does not allow large and harmful fragments into the system and your indoor space. As a result, it ensures the cleanliness of the air that courses through the heating and cooling processes.
While it seems easy to change the air filter by yourself, it’s highly suggested to contact HVAC experts when it’s time to change it out. Read more about the importance of changing air filters and getting professional help.
Cleaning and replacing the air filter regularly goes a long way. In fact, it’s one of the most crucial ways to keep your AC in excellent condition. So, here are the core benefits of changing the air filter:
- Cleaner and cooler air – First things first, a clean air filter signifies cleaner air. To guarantee that the air that circulates indoors is nothing but clean, you have to keep an eye on the state of the air filter. Is it already filled with dirt and other filthy particles? Or is it damaged and no longer functional?
Be sure to assess the status of the air filter because this is a pivotal aspect of the HVAC system. On top of that, you can pop in some nice air purifiers to help reduce indoor pollutants. Air purifiers are extremely useful to purify the air and freshen the environment. Often, these serve as a cure and preventive tool among people who suffer from respiratory diseases.
- Lesser allergy attacks – Regularly changing air filters is a must, especially for those who constantly suffer from allergy attacks. From dust pollen to pet dander, these particles can strongly hold onto the air filter. When the filter acquires more pollutants, it becomes more saturated. These particles can easily get blown into the system as the dirt passes through the unit and is transmitted in the air indoors.
For that reason, there’s a great possibility to experience allergic reactions and general allergies more frequently because of the unfiltered air circulating throughout your home. That’s why it’s important to replace air filters regularly to improve the air quality indoors. Keep the AC filter clean and you’d be surprised by its positive impact on your well-being.
- Fully-functioning air conditioning unit – Aside from reducing allergy attacks caused by stale air, changing dirty air filters allow your AC to work as expected. It catches unwanted pollutants so these particles do not hinder the flow of air and the air that courses through the unit is clean. On the contrary, if your air filter is full of dirt, the AC may not function well.
One of the most visible signs that your AC needs filter replacement is when the back section of the unit is very hot. If extremely warm air comes out at the back, it could mean that the filter is clogged. Because of the congested filter, the unit works double-time to keep the area cool. This negatively impacts the air conditioner in the long run, which may lead to frequent AC repairs and untimely AC replacement.
- Energy efficiency – Over time, filthy particles are trapped on the surface of the air filter. If this happens, the energy usage level of your AC might be affected. The more the dust and dirt, the higher the energy and electricity being consumed. Uncleaned air filter makes it difficult to pass air through the system, and consequently, this impacts the refrigerant cycle, leading to the AC needing more energy to cool your home properly.
- Lesser electricity bills – In relation to saving energy, a clean filter can help big time in reducing electricity costs. While there are several factors that affect the surge of your bill, clogged air filters can be a major cause. The dirty filters make it difficult for the air to pass, which causes the AC to use more energy to operate. So, if your electricity bill is higher than usual and you have not changed your air filter for a long time, this might be the culprit. Other AC-related reasons that increase your electricity are low refrigerant levels, duct leaks, damaged parts, and very old AC systems.
Tips on How to Clean and Change Your AC Filter
With the above-listed benefits, it’s safe to say that cleaning and changing the air filter is downright necessary. It’s not something irrelevant nor something that deserves a long waiting time. To give you an idea of how to clean and replace your AC filter, check out the following tips:
- Know the AC type – Before replacing the air filter, it’s important to identify the type of AC. Ducted systems often have their AC filters placed in the outdoor section of the unit while ductless is located indoors. Depending on the unit, air filters 23x20x1 are generally easy to just take out. Gently unclip the filter and pull them out from their cardboard holders.
- Clean the air filter – Using a vacuum cleaner or an air hose, clean the air filter thoroughly. If it is a washable one, try to wash it with water. Be careful to completely dry the air filter before putting them back in.
- Replace damaged filters – If the air filter is already damaged, then it’s high time to replace it. When choosing the filter, it’s suggested to get help from HVAC professionals so they can pick the filter size that fits your AC.
Because changing the air filter is necessary, the next question would be―how often do you clean and change it? The answer largely depends on your usage. It’s recommended that you clean filters every two weeks, which is approximately 200 to 250 hours of AC usage. Meanwhile, it’s best to replace air filters every three to four months. This is another reason to contact the professionals – they can give you a good idea of how long your new air filter will last, and when you should be changing it.