What Happens When You Need to Change Your AC Filter?

If your air conditioning unit is running too hot, it could be a sign that the filter is clogged. A blocked filter forces the air conditioner to work harder to keep your home cool, leading to more frequent repairs and a shorter lifespan for the unit. Filters are not designed to last forever; over time, they fill up with dust and dirt. Depending on your system, you may need to replace or clean the air conditioner filter.

Paper filters are disposable and have cardboard frames and paper screens, while reusable filters usually have metal frames and can be cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the air filter is clogged, it can't trap contaminants like it used to, which can lead to immediate problems such as headaches, itchy eyes or throat, and dizziness. If air filters are not changed and these issues persist, long-term effects could include respiratory disease, heart disease, or cancer. The long-term effect of not changing the HVAC filter is the eventual failure of your unit. Before that happens, however, your system will become clogged with dirt and dust from outside. Even a small amount of dirt or dust can force your air conditioner to run longer in order to keep you comfortable.

To prevent this from happening, check the filter every month and replace it at the first sign of dirt. At a minimum, change the filter every three months during the cooling season. Replacing the air filter and having the HVAC system inspected regularly are part of a preventive maintenance routine. Failure to change the air filter can damage other parts of the system and can result in a large repair bill later on. Changing air filters regularly can help preserve the life of your system and make it work more efficiently. When you remove the air filter from the air handling unit, if you hold it close to a light source, you can see if the filter is dirty or clogged; if you can't see the light through the filter, it's definitely time to change it.

Depending on the type of air filter you use, you will need to follow different programs to ensure that the filter is always working for optimal performance. Most manufacturers recommend that basic filters be changed every 30 to 60 days, but there are other circumstances that could affect that program. If you answer yes to any of these questions - do you have pets? Do you live in an area with high levels of pollen or other allergens? Do you have smokers in your home? - then you'll want to replace your filter more often than recommended. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you'll want to change your filter every 6 weeks to maintain the best indoor air quality. However, before that happens, there are warning signs that filters need to be changed. Depending on the type of HVAC unit you have, it is sometimes possible to look inside and see if the filters are dirty or not.

With a clogged air filter, air will not flow through the coils properly, causing them to stop working and causing total system failure. Replacing your air filter regularly is essential for keeping your HVAC system running efficiently and avoiding costly repairs or replacements down the line. Check your filter every month and replace it at the first sign of dirt. At a minimum, change it every three months during the cooling season. Doing so will help preserve your system's life and ensure that everyone in your home is breathing clean air.

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