We spend a lot of time on the blog discussing air conditioner maintenance. This time of year it is an especially important topic. Here in Alabama, we have a ton of pollen, which causes allergic reactions like crazy. We have all experienced that feeling of waking up in the morning with a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. We get ready for the day, go outside, and see an entire layer of pollen coating our cars!
That pollen, along with dirt and other allergens can make its way into your home via your air conditioner. Your first line of defense for keeping your ducts and your overall home air quality clean? The air conditioner’s air filter.
We recommend that you change your air filter every 30 days. While some people can get away with waiting longer than that, you should at least check it that often. If it looks clean, excellent. If it is dirty (which is likely the case for pet owners), change it. We don’t advise this because we want you to spend more money. We recommend changing filters often because it can make such a difference in the longevity of your HVAC system and the air quality in your home.
Dirty Air Filters Reduce Air Conditioner Efficiency
Have you ever tried to breathe with a pillow over your face? When you run your air conditioner with a dirty filter that is essentially what is happening. Your air conditioner needs clear airflow to run properly. A dirty air filter slows airflow and forces dirt and dust into your ducts. This means your air conditioner must work harder to cool your home. In some cases, it means that the air conditioner rarely reaches the temperature setting on the thermostat. That means you and your family are uncomfortable for no good reason.
Reduced Air Conditioner Efficiency Costs Money
When the air conditioner efficiency drops, your energy bill goes up. With a dirty air filter, your air conditioner must work extra hard to get air through your ducts. Not only are you and your family uncomfortable, but now you have less money in your pocket. All this can be avoided with a simple check and change once every 30 days.
The Air Quality in Your Home Drops
The air that does make it through a dirty filter is just that – dirty. It’s filled with particulate matter that can cause allergic reactions. Even if you are allergy-free, you can still end up with a stuffy nose and cold-like symptoms. To recap, a dirty filter means you can end up with an inefficient air conditioner that is expensive, doesn’t cool your home, and makes you feel sick.
That Dirty Air Sends Dirt All Over Your Home
While you are spending time in a home with a consistently dirty air filter, you might notice a lot of dust settling on the furniture. All the dirt and allergens from the air filter are blown into your ducts. The particulate matter then flows out of your vents and into your home. That means all your dusting and cleaning efforts are in vain – the dirt and pollen keep swirling around your house.
Poor Maintenance Reduces the Life of Your HVAC System
Think about how often your air conditioner runs, especially in the summer months. It’s on 24/7, hopefully creating a cool and comfortable environment for you and your family. It works hard enough without having the added burden of a dirty air filter. When the system is forced to work harder to compensate for an air blockage, that puts stress on mechanical parts. Those parts will eventually break down, leaving you with an air conditioner that doesn’t work and a repair bill.
Changing Filters Regularly is the Low-Cost Way to Maintain Your Air Conditioner
A typical home air conditioner filter costs somewhere between $20-$30. Some stores allow you to buy multiple filters at a discount. That small investment prevents you from having to pay hundreds of dollars in the event of a major parts failure. It’s a low price to pay for the well-being of one of the most essential systems in your home.