When your air conditioning filter or filters are dirty or missing entirely (yes, that happens!), the results include the accumulation of dirt and allergens, thus poor air quality for your family. You can be sure that a host of air conditioning maintenance and repair issues will eventually crop up as well. While those dirty filters are decreasing the efficiency of your system, they are also increasing the likelihood of damage to various parts, such as the ductwork, blower fan and cooling coil.
The following are a few tips to keep in mind regarding your air conditioning filters, which are simple but vital components of your system:
• Be sure you know where your filter or filters are located. Some systems may have multiple filters. Usually they are easily accessible, but even if a filter is hard to access, don’t succumb to the temptation to put off changing it.
• Never remove a filter unless you will be replacing it immediately.
• Change filters every month when your air conditioning system is operating.
• Use the proper type and size filter. There are disposable fiberglass, washable electrostatic, pleated “allergy,” and electronic air filters. For more detailed information about filters, see Air Conditioning Filters [link]. Remember, some types you throw away and replace; others you clean and reuse.
• Never force or bend a filter to fit. An improperly fitting filter can cause damage to your system and usually is about as good as no filter at all.
• Research and upgrade to the best high filter you can afford for your system. It will save you money in the long run.
• Optimally, install an air filtration system or high efficiency filter system that does not create a large restriction in airflow. If you cannot install one of these, select a filter that is more efficient than a one-inch fiberglass but not a super high efficiency filter. A simple pleated filter may be appropriate, but the ultra allergy filters have too much restriction and can cause problems when they create too much suction.
Problems to expect with dirty air filters:
• Reduced air flow in the structure.
• Dirt accumulation on fan blades (equals waste of your energy dollars).
• Excessive dirt buildup within the duct system causing mold and/or allergen production and, potentially, more expensive duct cleaning or replacement in the future.
• Insulation and other attic dust and debris blowing through your home because of an incorrectly sized filter.
• Dirty vents and dirty walls and/or carpet around vents.
• Potential for a moldy HVAC system when dirty filters cause the system to ice up and results in frozen lines. For information about problems caused when your system freezes up, see Mold in HVAC Systems [link].
• Air quality issues that affect your family’s health and your ability to keep your home clean.
• Dollar upon dollar wasted, first because of the reduced efficiency of your system; later due to damaged parts resulting in excessive maintenance and repair bills or complete replacement of your system.
Contact your local ARS®/Rescue Rooter® heating and air conditioning specialist today for more information on filters, to help you select the right filter for you HVAC system, and for a complete system check up.