The first step to caring for your indoor air quality is ensuring that the air filter within your HVAC system remains in good condition—unclogged and installed properly so that it can adequately do its job. However, while your indoor air quality does benefit from this, the sole purpose of your air filter is actually not to improve the air quality in your home.
At Tex-Perts Cooling & Heating, we understand that your air filter does keep out many of the particles in the air that can make you sick, such as pollen and other allergens—although a whole-home air filtration system could do even more. But your air filter serves a secondary purpose that homeowners often don’t take into consideration. They protect your HVAC system from damage.
Air from your home is tasked with flowing into the air handler so that the AC system can cool it (or so the heater can heat it). Without a good air filter in place, however, debris can actually damage the interior of the system.
Is your air filter too dirty?
The air that your air conditioner blows into your home doesn’t come from nowhere—it’s the air in your home recirculating over and over again. Your air conditioner is designed to let in a certain amount of air, so that it can meet the cooling capacity it was designed for.
Before air reaches the system, it must pass through a filter, as this blocks particles that could otherwise damage the air conditioning unit. But once this filter gets too dirty, the airflow into the unit becomes restricted. And that means that the air conditioner cannot do its job properly.
An air filter that is severely clogged is almost worse than having no air filter at all. A dirty air filter can actually obstruct air from flowing into the system at all. Since your air conditioning system is designed to take in a certain amount of air, any hindrance to that airflow can actually cause it to malfunction.
As a result, your HVAC system becomes overworked, and your system is much more likely to break down when you really need it—or at least require repairs that would have otherwise been unnecessary.
What happens when you do not change your air filters?
When you don’t change your filter for over a month, a lot can go wrong with your AC system. Take a look at a few of the problems people commonly encounter when their filters become all stopped up with dirt and debris.
- You won’t feel comfortable with a lack of airflow in the home.
- Your energy bills are higher since the AC has to work harder to draw in air.
- The indoor coil can freeze over, reducing efficiency and leading to additional problems.
- Components of the system can become overworked, leading to premature system failure.
- Water may be more likely to leak into your home.
Learn more in Why is Changing My AC’s Air Filter Important?
How to change your air filter?
For peak air conditioning performance and for the best return on investment, you should change your filters at least once a month. If you don’t use your system very often—although who doesn’t in Texas—then you can change this to every 2-3 months.
To change your air filters yourself, follow these steps:
- Locate the filter and slide the old one out.
- If it’s a reusable filter, vacuum off dust and dirt until it’s clean.
- If you’re replacing the filter with a new one, slide the new one into place. Make sure it’s installed the same was as the previous filter.
- Mark the filter and unit so you know which way the air flows. This will make future filter replacement easier.
- Now that the new filter is in place, you’re well on your way to saving energy and breathing healthier, cleaner air.
For more information about your HVAC unit and its air filters, contact Tex-Perts Cooling & Heating.