Central heating and air conditioning units have become extremely popular, almost to the point that people may take it for granted. 80% of new homes built in the United States are fitted with these systems.
With some simple maintenance, you can enjoy your HVAC system for many years, and can avoid costly repair costs in the future. Among the most important of these preventative steps you can do is to routinely change the air filter.
The air filter in your homes A/C system is located at the intake points of the ventilation. There are many different types, the most common being disposable and pleated. These filters serve two main purposes. The first is to remove contaminates from the homes air, and the second is to keep the system working smoothly.
As the air circulates throughout your home, the air filter will remove harmful contaminates, dust particles, pet dander, etc. from the air. In one study, air inside a home was shown to be up to 5 times more deleterious to ones health than the air outside, when not properly filtered. This is because modern homes are built so airtight that these harmful irritants cannot escape the building.
Air filters are rated on their ability to remove these contaminants by their assigned MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The higher the value, the better the filter is at removing dust particles and contaminants from the air.
The second function your air filter serves is to keep youre A/C running smoothly. A clean air filter is vital to have your air conditioner working efficiently as possible. By trapping and removing the dust particles from the airflow, it prevents these particles from schmutzing up the other elements of the A/C system.
Dirty air filters may cause problems in several areas of the system. Ice may build up on the evaporator coils if there is not sufficient airflow. This will cause decreased performance, and may damage the coils.
Clogged air filters can also cause problems with the compressor, which is very expensive to repair. Clogged airflow causes the compressor to have to work harder, causing it to fail sooner. Also, decreased airflow due to unclean filters can cause energy costs to rise as much as 20%.
It is recommended to inspect your homes air filter every month. If the filter is dirty, then it should be discarded and replaced immediately. Replaceable filters are available that only need to be cleaned when they get dirty. In any case, filters should not be left more than three months without replacement or cleaning.