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Why Changing Air Filters Is So Important

Man replacing a dirty air filter

Prevent HVAC Malfunctions By Changing Your Filter

Clogged air filters consistently rank among the most common causes of HVAC system malfunction. These relatively small and low-cost components can have a tremendous impact on how heating and cooling systems work. They also play an important role in improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and limiting the overall costs of HVAC use.

Regularly changing the air filters in your HVAC system can improve home comfort and resident health, and it can even increase the life span of your heating and cooling equipment. Signing up for an HVAC maintenance plan will ensure you never miss a tune-up.

Dirty Air Filters Overwork Your HVAC System’s Blower Fan

A forced-air heating and cooling system is designed to push or force air through a building’s ductwork so it’s distributed to individual zones or rooms. When air is being moved through these systems, it has to first pass through the air filter. This gives the filter a chance to capture and collect tiny particulates such as dust, dirt, and dander. As a result, the air being released at the vents is relatively free of impurities.

However, the dirtier a filter becomes during the weeks or months that it’s used, the harder the system’s blower fan has to work at forcing air through the ducts. Filters that are never or rarely changed tend to have thick, visible accumulations of lint-like debris.

These accumulations can also include larger elements, such as small bits of insulation that have broken or torn off, pet hair, loose carpet fibers, and more. The denser that filter buildup becomes, the more stressed and overworked the blower fans are. This can mean greater wear on all system components, less indoor comfort, and increased spending.

Keep Your HVAC From Freezing Or Overheating By Changing Your Filters

When air filters are completely clogged, it can cause problems with freezing and overheating. This is the result of slower air delivery and increased system effort. Sadly, overlooking a single and relatively inexpensive component can lead to the need for costly and potentially widespread repairs.

When heaters or air conditioners are already nearing the end of their life spans, this additional stress can sometimes result in system failure.

Changing Your Filter Actually Shrinks Your Carbon Footprint

In households that rely heavily on their HVAC systems, the majority of home energy use can be attributed to the heater and air conditioner. Thus, helping your HVAC equipment run more efficiently is an excellent way to shrink your carbon footprint and your overall impact on the natural environment.

Best of all, filter changes are quick and easy to do. If you take care of this basic yet important maintenance on a regular basis, you’ll minimize the amount of energy necessary for maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures, and you’ll save significant amounts of money over time.

Routine filter changes are also among the best things homeowners can do to improve their IAQ. Filters that accumulate a thick sheet-like buildup of debris are significantly less effective at cleaning the indoor air. A dirty filter removes far fewer airborne particles and it may begin releasing much of the debris it’s already collected.

When this happens, collected debris will start moving through the HVAC ductwork, and it will get trapped in the air registers and vents. Indoor air quality will decline, and those who are sensitive to allergens or have asthma could become uncomfortable.

Learn more about how you can eliminate allergens at home with Champion Air.

How Often Should You Change Your HVAC Filters?

Most homeowners should change their HVAC air filters at least once every two to three months. For daily use, filters should be checked and changed as needed once every 30 days. This is the best schedule for daily use because it will allow for the best operational efficiency and best possible IAQ.

Filters should always be changed monthly in homes where anyone has health problems like asthma, COPD, or allergies. If you have carpeting in your home, if you live near a busy street or highway, or if you have lots of dust from construction in your neighborhood, check and change your air filter every 30 days.

When it comes to maintaining your HVAC system, always defer to your owner’s manual for each respective piece of equipment. As with all appliances, the recommendations for maintenance will refer to a unit that’s relatively new and moderately used.

As your air conditioner or heater grows older and you find yourself using this equipment consistently and for longer stretches of time, you can get more needs-specific service recommendations from your HVAC technician.

What Are The Best Types Of HVAC Filters?

Changing your air filter is one way to reduce energy use and improve your home’s air quality, but these efforts won’t matter much if you’re using the cheapest and lowest-performing filters on the market.

Many modern ACs come with inexpensive fiberglass filters. Despite their low costs, these filters are fairly effective at straining out airborne particulates like dust and dirt. What they can’t do is remove airborne contaminants. The removal of airborne contaminants is important after having used your HVAC system during fire season when wildfire smoke advisories have been issued.

You should probably invest in a filter that can remove airborne contaminants and other micro-fine particulates. These high-quality filters are especially important if you live in an area with heavy outdoor pollution from cars, airports, or factories. When residents have progressive or chronic respiratory issues, getting the best filter possible can help make things a little easier.

Pleated air filters cost slightly more than fiberglass filters. These options don’t get clogged as easily, and they offer a better level of air filtration. These are a good choice for homes with one or more pets, since pleated filters remove more pet dander than fiberglass options. They’re also notably more effective at extracting mold spores from the air. Even with daily HVAC use, you won’t need to replace a pleated filter as often.

The next step up is high-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters. These can remove as much as 99.7% of all airborne particulates. They’re excellent choices for homes with infants, older adults, and family members with respiratory conditions.

These filters also work well in homes surrounded by environmental contaminants as a result of location or environmental features. One drawback to remember when choosing a HEPA filter is that it must be adjusted specifically to suit your HVAC system and its requirements.

The Benefits Of Electrostatic Air Filters

Electrostatic filters offer all of the benefits of costly high-performing filters, and they’re available at a significantly more affordable price. These filters produce static electricity through a combination of fibers.

The resulting electrostatic charge captures and very effectively retains airborne particulates so there’s virtually no risk of having them come loose and be redistributed throughout the home. These filters will remove the greatest amounts of particulates from the indoor air, and using them won’t have a significant impact on your wallet.

What MERV Ratings Are & Why They Matter

All HVAC air filters have a maximum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. Filters with higher MERV ratings are able to remove more particulates and more micro-fine particulates from the indoor air. Filters with lower ratings are generally only effective at removing dirt, dust, pollen, and some of the dander that might be circulating in a home.

MERV ratings range between 1 and 16. For the best IAQ, consider choosing a filter with a rating between 10 and 13. As with HEPA filters, any filter with a rating of 14 or higher must be specially adjusted to suit your HVAC equipment. This is necessary to ensure extremely high levels of air filtration don’t force the HVAC system to work far harder than it should.

At Champion Air, we offer reliable options in air conditioning and heating services to residents of Scottsdale, Phoenix, and surrounding areas.

Contact us for duct cleaning, air duct sealing, and preventative maintenance plans. If you need help choosing the right air filter for your HVAC system or want to learn more about our services, contact us today.

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