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Why is Replacing your AC Air Filter is so Important?

Buying an AC system may have been more about keeping cool in the warmer months, but it's additional abilities to purify the air in your home are a definite bonus, but only if it’s able to function properly.

09/10/2018

A home AC system is a huge benefit to keeping your home’s air fresh, clean and allergen free, but this is only the case if you look after your system and keep it regularly maintained. While your investment in an AC system may have been more about keeping cool in the warmer months, it's additional abilities to purify the air in your home are a definite bonus, but only if it’s able to function properly. Replacing the air filters within your AC system is a quick task anyone can learn to do, but many people don’t and it can result in a dirty, clogged system without you even realizing. These are very significant for you and your properties by making them durable. A key part of maintaining your AC system is the regular replacement of its air filters, but how often do you need to do this and more importantly why?

The Function of Air Filters in your AC System?

Of the many different parts of a standard AC system, the air filters are one of the few that you can easily remove and replace without the help of a professional AC system engineer. They are also the only part you need to be personally involved in changing to ensure the longevity and functionality of your AC system. The air filters in each AC system are usually made of a spun fiberglass material (the cheaper options) or pleated papers or fabrics. These elements are housed in a cardboard frame and the air in your system passes through this filter before into the rest of your home. It cleans the air which circulates through your AC system and traps any unwanted particles and health hazards such as bacteria and mold spores.

 

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A dirty or clogged air filter has many negative impacts on your home and the wider environment. If the filter is unclean or clogged then so is the rest of the system – everything passing through the filters is passed into the next part of the system, including the air ducts and this sees allergens and other health hazards pumped back out into your home. Allergens don’t just impact on those with allergies too, they can lead to unwanted symptoms in others, such as headaches and fatigue, simply because the air isn’t properly clean. The whole reason you invested in an AC system is to enjoy cooler, the better air in the home, but the opposite becomes the case if you don’t have functioning air filters. Underestimating the health hazards in your home’s air can be particularly problematic if you have young children or live with allergy sufferers. Clogged filters can result in poorer air quality than if you had no AC system so changing them regularly really is a vital home maintenance task, not something to take lightly.

There are many different brands of air condition air filters from Gibson to Air Bear to Nordyne, and leading suppliers such as Filter Buy, help to ensure you have the right filters to suit the size of your home and system and can also provide replacement filters when needed. It is understandable you may not have great knowledge of how your AC system functions, but you can soon learn the basics and keep it running as efficiently as possible. Unless you are an industry expert, however, how do you know when you need new air filters and firstly, the key question we’re discussing in this article – why is it so important they are regularly changed?

1. Air Quality

The whole point of an AC system is to keep your air fresh and cool. They can be key in managing any allergies in the home and purifying your home’s air. This is not the case if the air is being filtered through dirty or damaged filters. The air in our homes is regularly full of microscopic particles which can be damaging to health. Particles such as pollen, mold, bacteria, and dust can cause or trigger respiratory problems including asthma and lung diseases.

High-efficiency HVAC systems with quality AC filters catch these particles and remove them from the air in your home. However, the pollutants are now held on the filters and if they are not cleaned and maintained regularly, they’ll be returned into your home’s atmosphere very quickly. The accumulation of dirt and particles will soon clog up even the highest efficiency filters and the system will not be able to do its job properly. Regular filter replacement ensures you maintain the highest quality of air in your home.

2. Energy Efficiency

A clogged air filter soon becomes a large expense and impacts on your utility bills. With clogged filters, your AC system has to work a lot harder and uses up a lot more energy. Long-term clogged filters mean your system becomes highly inefficient and this,in turn, will see your electricity bill increase.

Your AC system can be a huge source of carbon emissions if not maintained properly. There are other ways of controlling the efficiency of your unit, such as choosing the smallest size necessary for your home. However, regular changing of the filters does stop the system from working overtime and therefore using up more energy and giving out more emissions than is strictly necessary.

3. Minimize System Breakdown

A clogged air filter is damaging to your system. If your HVAC system does break down and need repair, it can be extremely expensive, whereas changing your air filters is quick and easy and should form part of the regular maintenance of your system. The heating and cooling abilities of your AC system will be extremely limited if they do not break down altogether. In the worst-case scenario clogged filters can damage your system beyond repair and invest in a new AC system is a huge expense you don’t need if you could have simply managed the problem by changing the filters.

4. Protect the Environment

Closely linked to protecting and improving your home’s air quality, regularly changing your AC system air filters is better for the environment as a whole. Releasing all the pollutants collected back into the atmosphere and using huge amounts of energy are detrimental to the environment as a whole. What’s more, carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gases are released by your system more regularly when it is running inefficiently.

Many people invest in AC systems because of their green credentials. They can reduce air pollution in the home and ensure your home environment is much cleaner than outdoors. However, this will not be the case if your system is producing additional carbon monoxide and greenhouse gases, simply because you’re not changing the filters frequently enough.

5. Simple and No Fuss

Another reason you have no excuse not to change your AC filters is the ease involved in the process. It’s important to get the right filters for your system and to suit your furnace, but working with a well-known filter supplier such as Filter Buy ensures you have a full range of options to suit your home and your system. Replacing air filters is a quick task anyone can carry out with the right instruction. AC maintenance and repair can be hugely costly, but changing the filters is the opposite. No tools are necessary, and you need no specialist help. All you need to do is read and digest your system’s user manual and follow the instructions for the change. Swapping in the new filter takes just a few minutes and can avoid expensive breakdowns in the future. It is understandable you may be wary of swapping the filters yourself, but once you’ve tried once, it will be no issue. Every system is designed for you to change your own filters, so you should find no difficulty.

Now you have a real understanding of why regular air filter changes are necessary, it’s time to look at when a filter change is recommended. There are many different factors involved in when you should change your filter, as well as some basic guidelines.

When should you change your AC Air Filters?

There is no single answer to the above question. Many factors play a role in how often filters should be changed, but it is important you know the right time period for your home and system. Industry professionals Filter by explaining that recommendations range from as short as every 30 days to as long as 6 months depending on the kind of filter. The cheapest filters, often made from fiberglass, may need to be changed monthly whereas pleated filters, at a higher price point, may last up to 6 months before coming clogged and inefficient.

The general rule of thumb, most AC system manufacturers and filter suppliers agrees on is at least one filter change per 90-day period. That means at the very least you should be changing your filters every three months. Of course, if you know you’re investing in more expensive filters and a 6-month period is recommended then it is fine to stick to this, and likewise for filters which are of a lower quality. There are some other factors which may mean you need to change your filters more often, even if they may be designed to last 90 days or more:

Homes with Pets

Anyone with pets knows they add an additional workload to the home, and this is also true for your HVAC system. Cats and dogs shed their fur and pet dander can also easily enter the airstream in your home. It is recommended you change your filters every two months if you have a pet and more often if you have several. Keep a close eye on the times when your pet sheds more often so you can monitor the efficiency of your AC system and change your filters more often if necessary.

Homes with Young Children

Babies and young children are more prone to illness, and this includes respiratory conditions. Clean and pure air is essential for young children as they’re growing up so even if you invest in more expensive, efficient filters, you will still want to change them every 2-3 months for the health and safety of your children.

Homes with Allergy Sufferers

If you live in a home with people already diagnosed with asthma or other lung and respiratory conditions, clean air in the home is essential. These people are vulnerable to any pollutants in the air, so an ineffective HVAC system is bound to be detrimental to their health. Dependent on the severity of the respiratory conditions you may want to change your filters as often as every six weeks to maintain good air quality in the home and promote the best possible health for everyone in the home.

Other factors which impact, how often you should change your AC air filters include frequency of use of the system and also the size of filters in use. Keeping regular checks on the filters and physically noticing the level of dirt they are accumulating is key to finding the right time to change them in your home. It is also important to weigh up the number of people in your home as this is a further consideration for changing them more frequently. What’s more, even AC systems in vacation homes and apartments need their filters, changing at least twice a year, to ensure they remain fully functional and efficient.

A fully functioning and efficient AC system is a must-have for the modern home. Keeping it going efficiently and effectively doesn’t need to be difficult. Of course, you may suffer a breakdown from time to time, but this shouldn’t be due to the air filters if you are changing them regularly and ensuring there is no risk of clogging. Many call-outs every year for AC system repair are simply due to people forgetting to change their filters regularly enough. The cost of this call out far outstrips the cost of regular air filter replacement so getting into the good habit of making regular changes is both good for the health of your family and better for your bank balance.

 

 

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