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The Importance Of Changing Your AC’s Air Filter

From leaky faucets to faulty light switches, there’s always something to deal with when it comes to managing your home. It can be easy to fall out of the habit of regularly changing your air conditioner’s filter.

You would be surprised how important this oversight can be to the quality of your indoor air and the health of your entire HVAC system, especially in the high heat of summer here in the Tampa Bay area.

Here’s why it’s important to change your AC filter and what to do if you haven’t been keeping up with it like you should.

Benefits of Regularly Changing Your AC’s Air Filter

Prolonged Equipment Life

When an air filter becomes clogged with dust and debris, key parts of the AC system can start to suffer:

  • The blower motor – responsible for propelling cool air into your home – has to work overtime to compensate for the blocked airflow. This extra strain can overheat and damage the motor in the long run, and it can also lead to energy inefficiency as your AC works harder to keep your house cool.
  • Evaporator coils – responsible for absorbing the heat from your interior air. But, when a filter is clogged, less air passes through these coils. The reduced air flow can cause the coils to freeze over, leading to breakdowns and costly repairs.
  • The additional pressure buildup from a clogged air filter can put a severe strain on your AC’s ducts, reducing air circulation and potentially causing leaks in your ductwork where cooled air can escape, again making your AC work harder than it should.
  • A dirty filter also makes the compressor pump harder. The compressor plays a central role in your cooling system. If it’s affected by the extra work due to a clogged air filter, it can fail completely. Unfortunately, a compressor replacement can be one of the more costly repairs related to a dirty air filter.
  • The air filter’s main function is to prevent dust and debris from entering the air conditioner. When the filter is dirty, debris can build up on the fan blades, leading to vibrations, noise, and potential damage.

Regularly changing your filter is an easy way to avoid all of these problems.

A clean and dirty filter for an AC unit

Improved Air Quality

A clean filter traps dust particles, allergens, and other microorganisms, ensuring you breathe healthier, cleaner air.

Over time, a dirty filter gets clogged with this debris, creating an environment conducive to the growth of microbes, bacteria, and mold spores. These harmful particles are constantly cycled throughout your home or office via the air conditioning system, which is especially concerning for individuals with allergies or respiratory issues.

Once mold has found its way into your AC system, it can be very difficult to completely eradicate.

Lower Energy Costs

Running your AC system with a clogged filter is like running a marathon while breathing through a straw – it takes far more energy and effort to achieve the same result. This strain on your AC system results in a tangible increase in your energy consumption and utility bills.

When the airflow isn’t restricted by a congested filter, the system doesn’t have to devote extra power to force air through, translating to lower energy costs for you. You will not only notice the difference in more efficient cooling, but also the welcome dip in your monthly energy bills.

Improved Temperature Control

Have you ever noticed your AC struggling to reach a set temperature, or maybe a disparity between the thermostat reading and how cool or warm the room actually feels?

Your air filter could be the culprit. A clogged or dirty filter impedes normal airflow, so even if your air conditioner is working harder to maintain the desired temperature, it might not be able to.

Can Damage From an Unchanged Air Filter be Repaired?

It’s usually possible to repair the damage caused by an unchanged air filter. We can clean out the ductwork, replace the motor, or fix anything else that might be wrong.

However, repair costs can be significant. It may make more sense to replace an HVAC system that has suffered severe damage due to an unchanged filter. It’s much cheaper and better to just keep up on filter changes.

When to Change Your Air Filter by Type

Type of Air FilterRecommended Change Frequency
Fiberglass Air FiltersEvery 30 days
Pleated Air FiltersEvery 60 – 90 days
HEPA Air FiltersEvery 6 months
Washable Air FiltersClean monthly, change every 1 to 2 years.

How to Know When to Change Your Air Filter

Allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander can start to accumulate and get circulated back into the air you breathe when the filter gets dirty, so if you notice bad smells or worse allergies, it’s likely the filter needs to be changed.

An unexplained spike in your energy bill is another clue that your air filter is dirty and clogged since your AC has to work harder and run longer to cool your home effectively.

The frequency of changing your air filter depends on several factors, including the type of filter, the air quality in your area, whether you have pets, and the number of people living in your home. Inspect your filter monthly to see if it needs to be changed.

Here’s a deep dive into how often to change your filter by type, lifestyle, and more.

Do I Need to Change My Heat Pump Filter?

Just like an air conditioner, your heat pump air filter is the same as your AC unit and needs to be replaced during cold months when the heat pump is used to warm your home. While your AC may take the spotlight during the sweltering summer months, your heat pump most likely works in the cooler months here in Florida.

A neglected heat pump filter results in similar consequences to an unchanged AC filter. It impedes the free flow of air, leading to an overworked pump that may eventually break down.

A dirty filter also affects the heat pump’s ability to effectively heat or cool your home, potentially increasing the energy use and your bills in the cooler weather months or hot summer months. 

A dirty heat pump filter can introduce harmful pollutants into your home’s air circulation.

Typically, it’s advisable to change your heat pump filter every one to three months. However, just as with an HVAC unit, the frequency varies depending on your specific pump model, your household’s allergen sensitivity levels, and the number of pets in your home.

Your heat pump is most likely used very infrequently here in the Tampa Bay area, but be sure not to neglect the changing of your filter.

To ensure optimal performance and the longevity of your heat pump, consider bringing in an HVAC professional from us here at Millian Aire AC & Heating for regular checks and maintenance. 

Use Millian Aire To Change Your AC Air Filter

Maintain Your HVAC System With The Help of Millian Aire AC & Heating

Millian Aire AC & Heating prides itself on a solid reputation as a leading HVAC service provider across the Tampa Bay area, built on over three decades of experience. We employ cutting-edge tools and hard work to deliver the best HVAC system at the right cost suitable for your needs.

Whether you need help deciding on the right filter for your needs or you need your system checked after not changing the filter regularly, give us a call.

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