Air Conditioning Filter Change - How dirt and debris can affect you and your air conditioning system.

Air Conditioning Filter Change - How dirt and debris can affect you and your air conditioning system.

Although relatively cheap, your air conditioning filter can be the biggest factor in determining the efficiency of your air conditioning unit, your unit’s longevity and your health as well.  Let’s face it, Santa Clarita summers can be taxing both on your body and your HVAC unit, but ensuring that an air conditioning filter change is part of your routine is one of the most important factors in ensuring the health of you and your air conditioner.  Here are some simple central AC filter tips that you can use to keep you and your HVAC system running smoothly for many summers to come.

air conditioning filter change - new filterWhat is the purpose of an air conditioning filter?

Although your air conditioning filter can remove allergens from the air and increase your home’s air quality, many consumers don’t know that the primary purpose of your filter is not for you – it’s for your HVAC system itself.  A clogged AC filter can reduce air flow significantly, increasing the amount of time your system has to run and putting significant stress on your air conditioner’s internal components.  The AC filter’s primary role is to keep dust and other contaminants from collecting on the evaporator coil and other components which decreases the rate at which heat is exchanged.  Additionally, this dirt and debris can collect on the various moving parts of your blower motor and fan, which also decreases their effectiveness.  In fact, a dirty evaporator coil can increase your utility costs by 5-40%.

Replacing your air conditioning filter routinely will help keep your system running smoothly and prevent the buildup of mold, dust and other allergens which could require you to clean your air conditioning ducts – an unnecessary expense.  For more on this, take a look at: Should I Have My Air Ducts Cleaned? and How Do You Prevent Mold?

How changing your air conditioning filter promotes good health.

One of the many benefits of changing your air conditioning filter is the effect that this has on your health.  Whether you have a sturdy immune system or suffer from severe allergies or asthma, ensuring that your air is scrubbed with each pass through your air conditioner is essential to good respiratory health.  Routine AC air filter replacement is essential to decreasing the amount of organic material that accumulates in your systems ducting which can fuel mold growth.  Mold in your air conditioning system can cause several undesirable symptoms, including chronic cough, wheezing and the increased likelihood of asthma attacks.  For more information on mold and other respiratory issues, take a look at the CDC: CDC and Respiratory Health.

If you or a member of your family suffers from severe allergies or asthma, I’d recommend this article:

How to Reduce Asthma Symptoms and How Your Air Conditioner Can Help.

How often should you change your air conditioning filter?

air conditioning filter change - dirty to cleanThe moral of the story, if you remember nothing else from this post, is to remember to replace your air conditioning filter on a regular basis.  Means changing your air conditioning filter every three months at a minimum, but possibly more often if you live in a dusty or arid area.  ASM recommends that you check your filter on a monthly basis and if the entire filter is dark grey and has a “saturated” look, then it’s time to change it (see photo – a used photo is on the right, the new filter is on the left).

What type of central AC filter is just as important as how often you change it.

I can’t emphasis this enough – use good air conditioning filters.  The cheap type that you could stick your finger through with little or no effort and can see through as you hold it up to the light are no good (the kind you most often find in your apartment’s AC filter).  Buy yourself some high-quality baffled filters, and if any members of your family have asthma or allergy problems then invest in the better Honeywell HEPA filters and a UV purifier as well.

If you take my advice and are looking for a high-quality filter for your next air conditioning filter change, then I’d take a look at products from Honeywell and 3M.  They run about $15 a piece but are cheaper if you buy them in bulk.  If someone in your family suffers from asthma, don’t buy a filter with a micro particle rating of less than 1600 as this has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms and the likelihood of an asthma attack.  Believe me, my wife suffers from asthma and it’s well worth it.  Take a look at some of these products:

3M – A High-End Air Conditioning Filter Change.

At All Systems Mechanical HVAC, we care about the well-being of you and your family.  Ensuring that you schedule a regular air conditioning filter change is one of the most important factors in ensuring that you and your family stay healthy.  We should also re-emphasize how important a regular AC air filter replacement is to keeping your air conditioner functioning properly for it’s maxim lifespan.  For more information on this and other air conditioning related topics, visit us at our ASM Air Conditioning Blog.  If you live in Santa Clarita or the Southern California region, give us a call and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Click Here to See If You Are in ASM’s Service Area.

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Timothy Kautz
About the author
Tim K.

The University of Virginia - 2005 / The Wharton School of Finance - 2016 / U.S. Naval Aviator 2005-2015. At All Systems Mechanical air conditioning and heating, we believe that the experience our clients have is every bit as important as the products they receive. Simply put, our results speak for themselves, and we'd be happy to help. If you're in the market for a new AC or furnace, make sure that you get a fair price! Try our online calculator; click the tab on the top of this page for more information.

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