Spring is practically over—soon enough you’ll be restocking on sunscreen, and getting ready to enjoy the outdoors in the summer heat. But before you do any of that, it’s important to make sure your home comfort system is ready for the warmer temps. More specifically, your air conditioner should be maintained.
A common misconception when it comes to AC maintenance is that this is the only time your air conditioner’s air filter should be changed. This air filter actually plays an essential role in the system’s overall performance, so it’s very important that you change it on a routine basis—typically every 1-3 months. Read on to learn why this is so important.
First, What’s the Point of This Air Filter?
If your answer is “to protect my indoor air quality,” you’re not totally wrong, but you aren’t right either. Yes, there is a lot of debris that circulates through your home, causing allergies and other health issues. And yes, air filters trap this debris—that’s the point. But this particular air filter is in place to protect your HVAC system, not your indoor air.
This said, if the air filter gets too clogged up, then airflow into and out of the air conditioner will be restricted, leading to all sorts of problems. Therefore, like we said above, every 1-3 months it’s recommended that you swap out your air filter—this is dependent on what type of filter it is and the level of contaminants in your home. If you don’t change this air filter as you should, you could very well find yourself facing the following problems:
A Decline in Efficiency
When your air conditioner struggles to circulate air throughout your home, it becomes significantly less efficient. A dirty air filter will create resistance against airflow into the system, and therefore airflow out, too—contributing to AC inefficiency.
Additionally, a dirty air filter can cause your system to go through a process called short-cycling, when your air conditioner isn’t able to complete a full cooling cycle. Not only is this extremely inefficient, but it also places a tone of strain on the system—this leads to sky-high energy bills and expensive repairs, too.
Frequent Repair Needs
When your system has to run longer and basically work harder in order to do its job, wear and tear is increased. This leads to operational issues and eventually a breakdown. Of course, you don’t want to be stuck dealing with expensive repairs or a premature replacement. Changing your air filter is one simple and easy way to help avoid this scenario.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
Although we just noted that this air filter is put in place to protect your air conditioner, when it becomes too clogged up it can still negatively impact your indoor air quality. The debris, dust, allergens, and other particles that would otherwise get stopped by the filter instead gets circulated right back through your indoor air.