Changing your air filter regularly and as recommended is one of the most important maintenance steps you can take to extend the life of your equipment and improve the performance of your heating and cooling system. Unfortunately, there’s no little alarm that goes off to let you know it’s time to change your filter, and you might simply forget.
What happens at first when you forget to change your air filter?
Air quality suffers
The function of an air filter is to capture dirt and debris in the air that flows in and out of your system. The higher the MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value), the better your air filter is at trapping particulates in the air. A good filter will keep things like dust, smoke, lint, mold, pollen, pet dander, and pathogens from going down your ventilation system and polluting your interior air. Filtered air is healthier to breathe. However, when it’s full it’s full — and a filter that’s full won’t be able to do its job.
Your house gets dusty
A dirty air filter leads to problems with house cleaning, that is, the accumulation of dust. Well-filtered air means you don’t have a lot of dust in the house. Less dust means fewer dust mites, and it means you’re not getting that dirty air simply re-circulated through the house over and over. Keeping a clean filter installed means cleaner air to breathe and a cleaner house to live in.
What happens in later stages when you forget to change your air filter?
Your system becomes inefficient
As air filters get dirtier they start getting clogged. And that’s when things start getting difficult for your HVAC. The difficulty results from your system having to work harder and harder to produce the same results. It not only puts stress on your equipment, shortening its life or leading to expensive repairs, but it also means your energy bill is higher.
Your equipment may eventually fail
Eventually, air filters can get so clogged that they lead to some serious problems. Insufficient air flow can mean you get odd pockets of heating and cooling, leading to equipment that runs almost continually but doesn’t provide comfortable levels of interior heating/cooling. In fact, dirty air filters can eventually lead to system failure. Not only can your fan motor become so dirty it overheats and breaks down, but during hot months, lack of air flow can cause the condenser coils to form ice and possibly freeze up the entire air conditioner.
The simple solution: Remember to change your air filters
Whether you mark your calendar, use a reminder app, or hire a local HVAC company to take care of your equipment with a yearly maintenance contract, it’s important to change your air filters regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer. Both the air filter and the maintenance plan are cost effective ways to keep your energy costs low and extend the life of your HVAC equipment.