The air filter is an essential part of your HVAC system. Your filter helps to remove unwanted particles from the air you circulate throughout your home. Regular filter replacements are key to keeping good air quality and a healthy HVAC unit. Read on to learn the answer to the question: how often should you replace your HVAC air filter?
When to Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
You should always make sure to replace your HVAC filter at least every 90 days. Remember that you use your filter for both heating and cooling.
You should also make sure to check the condition of the filter every week or two. When it starts looking super dirty, it’s time to replace it. A bit of dirt and dust on the filter usually isn’t an issue. However, a thick layer of dust, lint, and hair means that it’s probably time.
Disposable vs. Washable Air Filters
You probably use a disposable filter that you throw out when it’s too dirty. However, you can also opt to buy a washable filter instead. Generally speaking, washable filters tend to be quite a bit cheaper in the long run and also much more environmentally friendly.
All that being said, the majority of people still opt for disposable filters. The main reason is simply for convenience. We recommend always having a spare filter lying around for when you need it. That way if you notice a dirty filter, it won’t be a huge hassle.
What Happens if You Don’t Replace Your Air Filter?
Failing to replace your air filter regularly can lead to a whole host of issues. These issues can drastically shorten the life span of your furnace, air conditioner, and HVAC blower fan. A dirty filter will clog, making it hard to pull air through it.
This means that the blower motor will have to work harder and harder to bring air into your system. Eventually, this will cause it to break down.
The reduced airflow also limits the effectiveness of your heating system in the cold months and your AC during the summer. As a result, your system will need to run for a longer time for the same results.
This puts added strain on the HVAC system and increases the wear and tear on the units. This can eventually lead to more frequent repair needs and a shortened overall life span. The issue also means that your heating and cooling costs will be much higher.
A clogged filter can also cause your furnace’s heat exchanger to crack. The heat exchanger is what transfers the heat inside the furnace to the colder air being drawn into it. As the furnace burns gas, the heat this creates raises the temperature of the heat exchanger.
You need cold air to flow through the system into the heat exchanger. If this doesn’t happen, the system can become hazardously damaged.
Replace Your HVAC Air Filter To Avoid Damage To Your AC
A clogged air filter can also cause your air conditioning to not work properly. Running a clogged filter will often lead to the evaporator coil inside your air handler developing ice and eventually freezing solid. You’ll need to shut off the AC and wait for it to thaw before it will work properly again.
Continuing to use your AC while it’s frozen can burn up the motor in your outdoor condenser. Should the condenser motor burn out, your only real option is to replace the entire AC unit. This is a much more expensive problem than just replacing your filter on time.
When the filter is clogged, it prevents the blower from drawing enough hot air into the air handler. If there isn’t sufficient hot air flowing into the system and over the evaporator coil, the refrigerant inside the coil will remain much colder. As a result, the moisture that naturally condenses on the coil will quickly freeze instead of dripping down into the drain pan, and the coil will eventually freeze up.
Expert HVAC Services
At Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air, we proudly serve residents in the Greater Sacramento area. Call us today if you have more questions, or need to schedule any heating or cooling service.