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Mack Morris Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

What You May Not Realize about a Home Air Filter

filter-ductYes, as heating and air conditioning technicians, we would like to remind you of how important it is to keep the air filter clean. This means that you need to replace it every 1-3 months, depending on how often you use it. Or, if you have a reusable filter, then you’ll have to clean it and let it fully dry before replacing it.

You might have heard this before, and you may or may not have followed the advice. Did you know what makes changing the filter so important? You might not have heard all this before.

The filter is not necessarily there for your health

Yes, air filters designed today can give you a level of filtration that really helps out if you have allergies or asthma. Many of the most common allergens are trapped in the filter so that they cannot recirculate throughout the home. But that is not actually the primary reason it’s in your system to begin with.

Early on in the design of central furnaces and air conditioners, engineers learned that without a filter, debris circulating from the air could pummel the fan and damage the system components.

It cannot function without a filter…or with a dirty one

So, a filter acts as a shield to keep debris from harming your HVAC system. However, when it is dirty, it cannot do its job. A dirty air filter is too clogged up to allow more dirt through, for the most part, but also too clogged up to let in air!

Your system needs to be able to suck in air from the home in order to function. Otherwise, the fan can malfunction, as can components like the evaporator coil that relies on the temperature and volume of indoor air to function.

The many problems of a clogged filter

You might be surprised by all of the ways a dirty filter can create trouble for your home:

  • Poor performance: First, a clogged-up filter can cause a lot of problems for the performance you expect from your system. You don’t get the proper airflow, and cycles may be shorter or longer than usual.
  • Overworked Fans: The fans within the system have to work so much harder to pull in air through a clogged filter. This can lead to issues with the motor, which may need to be replaced.
  • Frozen coil: The coil in an AC or heat pump can actually freeze when there’s not enough warm air flowing over it, and this is a problem.
  • High bills: High energy bills result from a fan working way to hard to keep you cool!

It’s easy to change

One final thing you may not realize about your air filter: how easy it is to change! Buy a few filters in advance to stock up for the year. Turn off the AC or heater before installation, and line up the arrows properly as you’re inserting the filter. Why risk problems with your comfort system when it’s so easy to change a filter?

Contact Mack Morris Heating & Air Conditioning to learn more or to schedule AC or heating service in Charlottesville, VA.

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