Do Cleaning AC Filters Make a Difference?

Learn how cleaning AC filters can improve indoor air quality and protect your HVAC system from potential damage.

Do Cleaning AC Filters Make a Difference?

If you haven't changed your AC filter in a while, there's a good chance that a lot of dust has built up in the ducts. You may want to inspect your ducts to see if you need duct cleaning. Clean ducts not only make your system work better, they also improve indoor air quality. At its most basic, an air filter removes impurities such as dust, pet dander, or even bacteria from the air that flows through the system.

Not only does this improve the air quality inside your home, but it also protects your HVAC system from potential damage. To keep fresh air flowing from now on, set a monthly reminder to check the AC filter status. If necessary, clean or replace the filter in your air conditioning unit at this time. If you live in a warm climate, you should check the filter more often in summer; homeowners in cold climates may need more maintenance in winter.

Once you've discovered the needs of your particular unit, design a maintenance program and stick to it so you can breathe easy all year round. Disposable air conditioning filters are the most common variety. A disposable filter lasts approximately three months, after which you should replace it with a new filter. Disposable filters are easy to change, with minimal tools required.

Simply open the air cleaner cover, remove the old filter, attach the new one and close the cover. The disadvantage of these filters is that they have a recurring cost, which can be expensive depending on the number of returns in your home and the quality of the filter you use. While air conditioner filters can be located behind an inconspicuous grille on a wall or ceiling, out of sight and out of mind, forgetting to change a filter regularly is a big mistake that can cost you money and negatively affect your home's air quality. A clogged AC filter can shorten the life of your expensive air conditioning unit and allow pollen and dust to circulate throughout your home.

Whether you choose a disposable or reusable air filter, changing the filter is vital to the regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit. After learning about the processes and benefits of cleaning your air conditioner filters, you may still have questions. Read on to learn more about proper filter maintenance. A clogged AC filter can trap cold air inside the air conditioning unit, preventing it from circulating through the ducts to the home. Replacing the filter improves airflow, allowing cooler air to enter the interior.

While it's OK to run an air conditioner for a short time without a filter, running it for hours without a filter will eventually cause serious damage to the air conditioning unit while reducing the air quality in your home. Gently slide the AC filter out, taking care not to damage it, then take a close look. If one of your household members is very allergic to dust, you should replace the air filter more often. Proper maintenance of air filters, whether replacing or washing them regularly, is crucial not only to providing clean air in your home but also to maintaining the proper functioning of your HVAC system. Consequently, the efficiency of the system will be reduced and it may even stop working if the filter is not replaced. A properly functioning air filter can improve indoor air quality, which is essential to your good health. When a filter is dirty, it forces the air conditioner to work harder to push air through its clogged fibers, using more energy to do so and thus shortening its lifespan.

If there is excess dirt on the air cleaner, the air conditioner will strive to cool the entire room or house. Airborne particles are not filtered due to a dirty filter. An HVAC air filter has a responsibility to filter out dander, allergens, pollen, and other airborne particles that can be harmful to health. Another rating method is the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), a scale recognized by both Federal Trade Commission and Environmental Protection Agency that also measures air purifier efficiency. While you should refer to the instructions for your HVAC system and your specific filter for maintenance guidelines, you should generally change filters at least every season if not once a month. However, if the air cleaner is new but still producing warm air consider hiring an expert. That said regular cleaning of the filter can help relieve pressure on the air conditioner and increase its lifespan.

Without regular cleaning and maintenance, an AC's air filter loses effectiveness.