Air filters are a main part of AC units but often are not appreciated for the role they play in keeping your home cool and your energy bill low. A dirty or clogged filter can result in unhealthy air in your home, as well as extensive damage to your AC system – so keeping it maintained is important.
All air that passes through your AC unit passes through the filter at one point or another. It catches dirt, dust, pollen and pet dandruff but can also act as a barrier for larger objects, such as loose insulation, which could cause a fire if not blocked by the filter. If you don’t change your filter regularly, the mesh that holds debris become thicker, not allowing air to pass through as easily. In turn, this causes the blower in your unit to work harder, increasing your energy bill and risk of overheating or freezing units.
Not only does a dirty filter cause problems for your unit, it can cause problems for your health. When an AC filter goes without maintenance, it begins to hold moisture. The filter then becomes a feeding ground for bacteria and mold. If these colonies build on the side of the filter facing your home, it can pollute the indoor air quality.
So we’ve established the importance of changing your air filter, but how often should you replace it? The answer: it depends.
First, you need to consider the type of air filter you have and what the packaging said when it was first bought. For cheaper fiberglass filters, which typically don’t filter as well, you should change it at least every month. For higher-end pleated filters, some will last as long as six months depending on usage.
Which brings us to the second thing you should take into account – how often you use the unit and in what location.
If you live in an area with high pollen counts or have pets, you should be checking your air filter every month or two, no matter the kind. If you use your unit all day, every day, it’s safe to say the filter will be dirty within a month or two.
Changing your air filter is an easy process and can typically be done without a professional. Check your unit’s instructions if you are unsure or if you don’t know what type of filter to buy. Some filters are knitted thicker and won’t work well for specific units, overheating the system. If you can’t find your air filter location or think it has been a while since it’s been changed, contact Star Mechanical today to schedule a system tune-up!