Everyone knows it’s a good idea to change their AC filter, but this is one of the most frequently overlooked household chores. Since AC filters are not prominently invisible and don’t have an immediate effect on your AC’s performance, it is easy to forget all about them. Unfortunately, this can lead to major issues. If you want to save money and feel comfortable, it is important to remember to change your filter. Especially during allergy season, changing a filter comes with all sorts of benefits.
Keep Allergens Out of Your Indoor Air
Air conditioning filters play a big role in reducing the number of allergens inside your home. Every time your AC runs, it sucks air through a big return vent. The air at this intake vent gets pulled through a filter made up of tiny particles. Though the gaps are big enough for air to move through, they are small enough to trap dirt, debris, pollen, and pet hair. This ensures that the cooled air coming out of your vents is cleaner than the air that went in. Every AC cycle ends up cleaning more and more of your indoor air.
As long as you change your filter consistently and spend a few hours each day running the AC, you will find that it is a lot easier to breathe air indoors. Depending on the filter you get, your air conditioner may be able to remove up to 98% of airborne allergens. This vast increase in indoor air quality provides welcome relief for allergy sufferers. On days with a high pollen count, you can step inside and enjoy an environment with far fewer allergens. If you are allergic to pet hair, dust mites, or other common indoor allergens, an AC can keep these allergens from building up to unpleasant levels.
Help Your System Function More Efficiently
An unfortunate reality of allergy season is that it starts right as temperatures get warmer. As you begin running your air conditioner more, you may notice that your energy bills get higher. Bills can get especially high for those who are running their AC constantly to help with allergies. If you want to save on utilities, it is important to keep your filter changed regularly.
A clean filter improves AC efficiency because it keeps dust and grime from getting inside of your system. When your filter is too dirty to trap dust, the debris ends up coating the cooling coils inside of your air conditioner. This makes it harder for them to absorb heat from the air, so their cooling capacity lowers. The end result is an air conditioner that runs longer but does not keep your home as comfortably cool.
Reduce Your Chances of Getting Sick
When you are already suffering from allergies, the last thing you want to do is get sick with another respiratory illness. An air conditioning filter helps to trap a lot of particles that cause illnesses. Depending on the type of filter you have, your filter may be able to trap viruses like the one responsible for the common cold. This can reduce the overall viral load in your air, so you have a slightly lower chance of getting sick.
Furthermore, your filter also traps mold and bacteria particles. Without a filter to catch them, mold and mildew can easily end up growing inside your AC unit. Whenever your system switches on, it could be circulating all sorts of unpleasant airborne substances throughout your home. Switching your filter regularly prevents this from happening. The improved indoor air quality can help you breathe easier even if your allergies still bother you occasionally.
Avoid AC Unit Breakdowns
Since your AC does such a great job of reducing the number of allergens in your home, it is important to keep it operating in good condition. A broken AC on a day with high pollen levels could leave you feeling sweaty, stuffy, and absolutely miserable. Dirty air condition filters contribute to breakdowns in multiple ways.
Since they impair system efficiency, your AC has to run longer, which puts more wear and tear on the parts. Furthermore, all the grime circulating inside your AC can cause other issues. It can weigh down fans and moving parts, making them more likely to shift out of alignment. Debris can also clog up your drain line, resulting in leaks or other issues. If you want to avoid needing major repairs, it is a good idea to change your filter on a regular basis.
What Sort of Filter Works Best for Allergies?
Ultimately, a clean AC filter can be a huge benefit to your system. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all filters are equal. Some have bigger gaps, so they let more particles through. To compare filters, check out their MERV rating. A high MERV value means that a filter will do a better job of trapping allergens. Another useful option might be a HEPA filter which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter. These trap even more allergens than a low-rated MERV air filter.
However, keep in mind that you cannot just throw the highest ranking filter in your AC and hope for the best. A high-MERV or HEPA filter also blocks some airflow, so your AC will need a stronger motor to work with them. Using a filter that is too dense for your unit can result in breakdowns or difficulty cooling your home. To pick the best filter, you will need to check your AC manual and select the most effective design for your system.
How Often Should You Change Your Filter?
As you can see, getting a good filter and changing it regularly makes a huge difference to your indoor air quality. What does regularly actually mean though? This can vary depending on your filter. If you have an old fiberglass filter, you will need to change it every month because these cheap filters fill up so quickly. However, if you have a pleated filter, you may only need to change it every 90 days.
Keep in mind that this is the bare minimum for keeping your system in good working order. If you are worried about allergens, you will need to change the filter more often. For those with a basic pleated filter and mild allergies, the standard recommendation is 45 days. However, if your allergies are severe or if you use a high MERV rating filter, you might need to change your filter more often. More frequent filter changes ensure fewer allergens are in your indoor air to affect you.
If you have any other questions about using your AC system to keep allergies under control, talk to Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning. We can assist you with finding the right type of filter and ensuring your air conditioner runs efficiently. Our team provides a wide range of services throughout Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and surrounding areas. We work on both residential and commercial HVAC systems and help with repairs, installations, and maintenance. Learn more about how we can help you by calling us today.