Is the air filter in my ac/heater that important?

Is the air filter in my ac/heater that important? Of course, you know the answer is YES! That is if you want to keep your ac/heater running at its peak efficiency, and you don’t want to prematurely have to replace your unit.

Sometimes people need more information about “why” the air filter is important. I didn’t realize how important the air filter is until I started working for Arctic Air. I mean, yeah, I knew that it was there for a reason.  But, do I really have to replace it every month? And, truthfully, you don’t need to replace your filter every month.  That is correct, however you do need to check it every month.

filtercomparisonWhen you check your air filter, if it only has a little bit of dust or dirt trapped in it, you don’t need to change it.  But, if it is dirty then you do. Especially if it looks like the ac/heater was trying to suck it through the duct work! If the latter is the case, you are causing your ac/heater to work harder, use more electricity, and you are potentially going to trap dirty and grime in the evaporator coil (this is an expensive repair).

So how does that ac/heater filter get so dang dirty? Your home, like mine, contains lots of contaminants. Dust, VOCs, pollen, pet hair and dander, and more are floating in the air. When your air conditioner begins to draw the air into the system, it brings these contaminants with it.

Your ac/heater’s air filter(s) is/are the first line of defense. Filters are used to help stop the contaminants from entering the systems.  What is interesting is, the longer you have your air filter installed, the more dirt and grime it will trap. Once these contaminants start building up, that filter will get clogged.

So what! What will happen if my ac/heater is dirty? 

  1. Dirt builds up! – This, as you can guess, is not a good thing.  When dirt gets past the ac/heater’s filter, it will begin to build up on the systems various components. This filth is not good for any of the components, but it especially effects the evaporator coil. This is the component that removes the heat from the air, therefore, providing cool air for your home. When this coil gets dirty, air cannot pass as easily through it. So you don’t get the cooling effect that you desire.  Now your unit has to run longer and harder to reach the set point on your thermostat. This costs you money!  Don’t overpay the electric company.
  2. Higher electric bills! – A dirty evaporator coil is not the only thing that increases the cost of running your ac/heater.  The air handler will also cause your electric bill to increase, and will cause your efficiency to decrease. When the filter is dirty, your air handler will have to work harder and longer to pull the air through the filter. Once again, increasing energy consumption.  This costs you money! Don’t overpay the electric company.
  3. Dirty air distributed! – YUCK. The air filter is supposed to remove contaminants from the air. Remember, this is the air that we breathe. This could potentially cost you money! How? Healthcare costs and time out of work.

If you have any questions about indoor air quality, please feel free to contact us.  There are many different solutions that are available.