Regular air filter replacement is a critical part of maintaining good indoor air quality and keeping your heating and cooling system in top shape. Yet, even though the job takes just minutes, many homeowners neglect it and miss out on the benefits of clean filters. These benefits include:
- Improved indoor air quality
- Optimal system energy efficiency
- Reduced environmental impact
- Longer system lifespan
A Clean Filter Protects Your Health
Forgetting air filter replacement can be a real problem in areas with high spring and fall pollen counts, such as the Baltimore and Westminster area. For several years, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has placed Baltimore among “the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies.” If you’re bothered by allergies or asthma symptoms, keeping your air filter clean is even more important.
Higher efficiency filters form a powerful line of defense against the airborne pollen, mold spores and dust mites that aggravate respiratory conditions. While these filters don’t usually need to be changed as often as the cheap fiberglass models, they still need to be clean to work efficiently.
Greater Efficiency and Lower Energy Bills
Although your health is the most important reason for timely air filter replacement, energy efficiency comes in a close second. Leaving a dirty filter in your system can reduce the system’s energy efficiency by up to 5 percent. Your system won’t heat and cool optimally, and you’ll end up with higher energy bills, too.
As a filter traps more and more contaminants, it becomes increasingly dense. Eventually, it becomes so dense it interferes airflow. The blower fan motor is forced to work harder to maintain the level of airflow necessary for the system to work properly.
This naturally means the blower uses more energy than it otherwise would. A clean filter allows for a sufficient amount of airflow so the blower motor can run at optimal efficiency, using only as much electricity as it really needs.
Clean Filters Promote a Clean Environment
Electricity itself is clean, but in our area it’s often generated by coal-burning power plants that produce carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Proper heating and cooling system maintenance cuts down on the amount of electricity you use, which helps reduce the output of these pollutants. That means cleaner, healthier air for everyone, which is especially beneficial if you’re managing asthma.
Filter Maintenance Means Longer Lasting Components
To a certain extent, the blower motor can compensate for a dirty filter by putting in more energy to pull air through. Even so, this puts an amount of strain on the motor that it wasn’t designed for. Over time, this can cause the motor, electrical wiring and other components to fail early. You’ll be stuck with the expense and hassle of having to replace parts that should have lasted a lot longer.
Worse yet, if the filter becomes clogged enough to block most airflow, the motor may burn out, causing your system to overheat and break down entirely. You’ll have to pay not only for a new motor, but also for other damaged components as well. All that is easy to avoid just by investing a few minutes in air filter replacement every one to three months.
Dirty filters also can’t properly do the job of keeping debris out of your ducts. If fact, a dirty filter can actually blow dust and debris into your ducts.
The Ideal Air Filter Replacement Schedule
Most filter manufacturers offer replacement guidelines along with each filter. A heating and cooling professional can also tell you. In general, though, how often you should replace your filter depends on three things:
- Filter type — Higher efficiency filters last longer.
- Your indoor air quality — Having a large family, living in an area with a high pollen count, and having pets all mean you’ll need more frequent filter changes.
- Your heating and cooling use — Air filter replacement should happen on a more frequent basis in summer and winter, when you’re using your system for hours a day.
For pro tips on choosing the best air filters for your needs and guidance on caring for them correctly, contact us at Griffith Energy Services, Inc. We provide reliable heating and cooling services to homeowners in the Baltimore, Westminster and Hagertown area, as well as around Easton, Maryland, Dover, Delaware and Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Written by Kevin Spain