Almost everything needs to be replaced at some point, and air filters are no exception. Over time, they can get clogged and damaged – with serious potential consequences to both your health and the health of your HVAC system.
So let’s talk about it! We’re going to discuss when air filters need to be replaced, and why it’s so important to replace them on a regular basis. By the end, you’ll understand a bit more about how air filters work, what they do, and why replacing them is so important.
Washable vs. disposable air filters
Before we get into why you should replace your air filters, let’s talk about the two main types of air filters: disposable and washable.
Washable filters don’t need to be replaced very often – there are washable filter producers who claim their filters will last longer than your furnace or air conditioner. You will, however, still need to replace those filters if they ever become damaged – and you’ll need to wash them on a regular basis.
Disposable air filters need to be replaced regularly – usually every three months, though in some homes (those with high amounts of dander or occupants who suffer from allergies), you’ll want to replace the filters more often. Some households even switch their filters monthly.
Why do we replace air filters?
To protect our HVAC systems
HVAC systems work by forcing air through your home – and that forced air has to make it through your air filter. Some of the disposable air filters on the market today do a remarkable job filtering out particles – they can filter out particles as small as dust flour.
There are, however, even better filters on the market – HEPA filters which can even filter out smoke and bacteria. These filters are mainly used in hospitals or surgery centers and computer chip manufacturing clean rooms. They aren’t used in residential HVAC systems though – and for good reason.
You see, your residential system isn’t powerful enough to force air through a filter that thick. To do so would overtax the motor, lead to excessive wear and tear, use more consumption of electricity, and hamper air distribution throughout your home.
The same principles that apply to HEPA filters apply to filters that are overly clogged with dust. All of the accumulated particles make it hard for air to make its way through the filter, which leads to wear and tear in your system.
To protect our health
When filters become clogged with particles, they become less effective. In the end, the forced air is going to have to move some of those particles to make it through – and that means the very things you were trying to filter out are going to end up in your lungs and sinuses.
That can lead to sick building syndrome, allergies, and all kinds of other problems.
Filter out old filters
As you now know, replacing old filters is essential. Disposable filters, by the way, tend to catch particles much more efficiently than their washable counterparts, so they’re what we recommend for homeowners with particular sensitivities to particles. Filters are simple enough to replace, and if you’ve signed on for our HVAC maintenance in San Marcos, we’ll replace yours for you. Need them replaced more often? Talk to us – we’ll show you exactly how you can do it.