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The Role of Air Filters in Efficient Air Conditioning Systems

Air filters are one of the most overlooked components of air conditioning systems. However, they play an integral role in the optimum functioning of your air conditioner.

Understanding more about what they do, which filters to use, and how often to replace them can help you keep your air conditioner running properly and allow you to enjoy a cool and refreshing home.

AC Unit

Air Filter Functions

Air filters are typically made from pleated paper or spun fiberglass set into a cardboard frame and clean the air circulating through your HVAC system. Air filters trap particles and contaminants, including dust, dirt, mold, pollen, lint, fibers, pet hair, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Filtration happens when the expended air is pumped back into the HVAC system for conditioning and distribution. As the air is pushed through the filter, it removes the contaminants, improving the indoor air quality in your home. 

Since air filters catch the particles, they form a layer on the surface. When you neglect to change the filter at regular intervals, it can lead to some big problems for your air conditioning system.

Potential Problems Caused by Dirty Air Filters

Air filters need to be changed regularly for them to be effective. If you neglect to change them, you’ll wind up with higher energy costs. This is because you’re causing your air conditioner to work harder.

When the airflow is restricted, it can cause the integral parts of your AC system to wear out. This tends to result in a system failure, requiring the need for urgent Fort Walton Beach air conditioning repair.

Clogged air filters also leave you with poor indoor air quality and keep the air and moisture trapped from passing through, which will allow mold and bacteria to grow, further clogging things up. When you leave a dirty filter in your AC system, it allows nasty microbes to spread throughout the HVAC system and into your home. Additionally, all the buildup can get into your air ducts, making your air conditioning system much less efficient.

In short, if you want your air conditioner to last for its expected lifespan and avoid costly repairs, you should change your air filter regularly. 

Understanding Air Filter MERV Ratings

The kind of air filter you use in your HVAC system is also important. In addition to being available in an array of sizes to fit your system, you may have noticed that there are cheaper filters and more expensive options.

Higher-quality filters cost more, but they will effectively remove more contaminants from the air. Each filter has a minimum efficiency reporting value called a MERV rating. A basic air filter with a MERV rating of 1-4 is a low-cost option, but it will not remove all the dust and contaminants from your home. You will get better air filtration with filters that have a MERV rating between 6 and 8. Mid-range filters rated 9-12 are of higher quality and can effectively capture small particles of 1 micron or larger. There are also high-efficiency filters with a MERV rating of 13-16, removing particles of 0.3 microns or larger.

However, be careful with higher MERV ratings as they may not be the right option for your home. While they are effective, they may be too thick and dense for your system. This means they could restrict the airflow in your HVAC system and lead to a breakdown. Choose an air filter that’s in the middle of the range to get the best filtration for your home.

Why You Need to Regularly Change Your Air Filters

All the air in your home will run through the air filter in your HVAC system. This is why it is essential to change your filters regularly.

Dirty and clogged air filters are one of the reasons people call for air conditioning repair in Pensacola. They can do significant damage by reducing the airflow in your air conditioning system. The air-handling fans must work harder to compensate for the restricted airflow, causing these parts to wear out more quickly.

With a dirty air filter, particulates and contaminants can’t effectively be drawn from the air. That means they continue to circulate through your air and the inner workings of your HVAC system and ducts. 

When you don’t change your air filters, you’re also using more energy because your air conditioning system must work even harder to cool down your home. If you’ve noticed a rise in your electric bill recently, take a good look at your air filter. It may be the reason your bills are higher. 

How Often Should You Replace the Filters in Your HVAC System?

Generally, HVAC system air filters should be changed every 30 to 90 days, though that will depend on the kind of filters you’ve purchased and a few other factors. In the summer, when your air conditioning is running more often, you may need to change your air filter every month, even if it’s a high-efficiency filter. If you have any pets or family members who have allergies, you will need to change the filters every 30 days.

The best course of action is to take a look every 30 days. You can check your filters by holding them up to a light source. If you can’t see the light coming through your air filter, then replace it. This will ensure that you never have a dirty filter and keep your air conditioning system running without obstructions. 

It’s a good idea to schedule regular maintenance on your HVAC system. Contact Lee Heating & Cooling to ensure your air conditioning is in tip-top shape or if you need repairs to restore the cool and refreshing environment you deserve in your home.  

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4119 Warehouse Lane, Pensacola, FL 32505
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