HVAC air filters are designed to prevent dust and debris from getting inside the system and potentially damaging its components or limiting its effectiveness. Depending on the type of air filter you use, it can also help to improve your home’s air quality by trapping pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and other allergens and contaminants.
The only issue is that the air filter will eventually trap so much dust and other particles that it becomes clogged to the point where almost no air can flow through it. This limits the effectiveness of your heating and cooling system. A clogged air filter can also lead to numerous issues that may cause the system to break down and need repairs or prevent your heating or air conditioning systems from running at all. Replacing the air filter is one of the most important HVAC maintenance tasks. Here’s a quick overview of how often it needs to be done and what issues can arise if you don’t replace the filter regularly.
How to Know When You Need to Replace Your Air Filter
The general rule of thumb is that you should replace your air filter every four to 12 weeks. If your home has both central air conditioning and heating, you’ll need to replace the filter throughout the entire year since the same filter works for both systems. The easiest way to know when your air filter needs to be replaced is to make a note on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone to check the condition of the air filter every month.
If the filter is covered in lots of hair and debris, you can gently wipe this away so that the filter continues working effectively and lasts slightly longer. If the filter is black or looks overly dirty, it’s definitely time to replace it or wash it if you have a reusable filter. Another good way to know if your filter needs to be replaced or washed is to hold it up to a light. If the filter is still in good condition, you should be able to easily see the light through it. If you can’t see any light through the filter, it’s a sure sign that you need to replace or wash it.
How to Know Where Your HVAC Air Filter Is
If you’re unsure of where your air filter is located, there are two places you’ll want to check. Most HVAC systems are designed with the air filter located within the return duct that leads to the furnace and air handler. In this case, you should see the edge of the filter sticking out of the duct next to your furnace. The other possibility is that the air filter is located in the return air vent where air is drawn into your HVAC system. In this case, you’ll need to take the cover off of the vent to check and replace the filter.
Why Replacing Your Air Filter Regularly Is Essential
A clogged air filter is the most common cause of many HVAC issues as it greatly increases both the strain and wear and tear on the system. If you don’t replace the filter regularly, it will cause a decrease in the effectiveness of your heating and cooling and result in your home always feeling too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter. Whenever the filter is overly dirty, the HVAC blower will struggle to draw much air into the system. The less air there is coming into the system, the less hot or cold air there will be blowing out of your vents. When the airflow is restricted due to a clogged filter, it also forces the blower to work harder and can cause it to break down.
A clogged air filter can also cause your furnace to overheat since there won’t be enough air flowing through the system to draw all of the heat out of the appliance. A furnace that overheats is a serious issue; it can cause major damage to its electrical components and also pose a fire risk. Any time your furnace overheats, it will automatically shut down and won’t run again until it has fully cooled.
A clogged filter can also cause numerous issues for your air conditioning system. One of the most common problems that happens when the filter is clogged is that the evaporator coil starts to freeze since the blower can’t draw enough warm air in. A frozen evaporator coil will prevent the system from cooling whatsoever. It can also lead to serious damage to your outdoor AC unit if you leave the system running when it’s frozen.
At Controlled Climate Services, we’re your local HVAC experts and can take care of all of your home’s cooling and heating needs. We specialize in all types of heating and AC repairs, maintenance, and installation services, and we work on both central HVAC and ductless systems. If you need any heating, cooling, or indoor air quality service in the Kennesaw area, contact us today.