If you’re like other people, you don’t care about your HVAC system until it stops working properly. Do you know what one of the most common causes of device complication or malfunction is? Filters that are clogged. Continue reading to learn more about how air filters function in your HVAC system and what can happen if they aren’t changed on a regular basis.
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How Do Air Filters Work?
Air filters are usually made of spun fiberglass or pleated paper, with a cardboard frame surrounding them. They are mounted in a particular location in HVAC systems and function as a barrier to avoid chemicals and other pollutants from circulating in the air or touching sensitive parts of the system. Filters usually block dust, pollen, lint, mold, hair, animal fur, bacteria, and other pollutants.
How Often Should Filters Be Changed?
Depending on the type of air filter you use, you may need to stick to various schedules to ensure that the filter is still running at peak efficiency. Most manufacturers recommend changing simple filters every 30 to 60 days, but this may be influenced by a number of factors.
- A filter should be adjusted every 90 days in a typical home with no pets.
- If you have a single pet in your house, the filter should be replaced every 60 days.
- If you have several pets or if someone in your home suffers from allergies, you can change the filter every 20 to 45 days.
What Happens When You Don’t Change Your Filter?
If air filters are not changed on a regular basis, particles and chemicals that bind to the filter clog them. While the filter is built to contain these minute particles, the buildup creates an almost impenetrable barrier, preventing the air from passing through entirely, which can lead to a slew of issues with the entire HVAC system.
Higher Energy Bills
As the filter gets clogged, air is unable to flow freely into the device. Since the air is working for longer, the whole system has to work harder to deliver heat or air where it is required, which raises the energy bills.
Poor Temperature Regulation
Since clogged air filters cause the device to work harder to generate airflow, warm or cold air cannot get where it needs to go. As a result, some rooms could be too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer.
If the air filter becomes clogged and is unable to trap pollutants as effectively as it once did, those contaminants which end up back in the air that everyone in your home breathes. Headaches, itchy eyes or mouth, and dizziness are also possible symptoms. If the air filters are not replaced and the problems persist, the long-term consequences may include respiratory illnesses, heart disease, or cancer.
As the system works harder to avoid clogged air filters, the entire system will overwork and eventually fail. If this occurs, you will need to rebuild the whole device, which can cost between $4,000 and $12,000. Since air filters are typically less than $40, they are inexpensive to replace on a regular basis as opposed to replacing the entire system.
If overworked, evaporative coils, which help extract heat from the air to keep your home cool, will freeze. With a clogged air filter, the air does not flow correctly over the coils, causing them to stop working and resulting in complete system failure.
What to Do
If you haven’t changed your home’s air filters in a while, your next step should be to decide which filters you need and replace them as soon as possible. If the old filters seem to be so clogged that nothing, not even air, can move through them, it’s time to call an HVAC professional. They will come to your home and check the device, resolving any issues caused by clogged filters and avoiding potential problems.