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The importance of having and the right moment to change an AC filter

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Jan 6, 2022

As a cleaning company, we are always informing our clients about the importance of having air conditioner filter and changing them as needed. We have noticed that even though here in Florida air conditioner system is one of the most vital systems in your home, providing necessary cooling in Florida’s hottest months. For this reason, it is very important to ensure your AC stays in top condition. One way to do this is to keep your air filter clean. Many homeowners don’t realize the importance of this small gesture, but it performs a crucial service by keeping harmful items out of your system and your health. Due to many homeowners still have trouble understanding the importance of the air filters and when they need to be replaced, in this article, we will help you understand the importance of the air filters, when is the right moment to change them and also what are the damages on when you don’t use them. 

What does the air filter do and why is it so important? 

Your AC filter is usually made of a spun fiberglass material or from pleated paper or cloth held within a frame. The primary purpose of the filters is to clean the air that is circulation through your air conditioning system, which can impact the indoor air quality as well as the efficiency of the entire system. It will also affect the longevity of the system and its repairs over time. The material of the filter is designed capture and hold various particles and contaminants that may find their way into your home. The filters will trap these particles within its fibers and will keep them out of your HAVC system. This will help protect you, your family and your AC equipment. The filters are deigned to trap the following contaminants: 

  • Dust and dirt
  • Pollen and other allergens 
  • Mold and mold spores 
  • Fibers and lint 
  • Hair and animal fur
  • Metal, plaster and wood particles 
  • Bacteria and other microorganisms 

How often should I change my AC filter?

As a general rule, it is recommended to change your AC filter every month. However, multiple factors can affect this timing. We will list bellow of few of them: 

  • How frequent do you use your system? 

The frequency on changing the filter of your home depends on how frequent your AC system is used. I know that question may seem odd but the replacement of the filters will be a lot different for example on a seasonal unoccupied vacation home compared to a family household with multiple pets. 

For example, in Florida during the summer, on the hottest months of the year, you probably use your cooling system heavily while during the winter you may not use your HVAC system as much. During those months that you use it more heavily, you may even have to replace the filters every few weeks rather than monthly.

  • How many people and pets are in your home? 

The number of people and pets that occupies the house will impact the air quality. For example, a single person with no pets will change their filter less frequent than a household with kids and multiple pets. 

Did you know that pets can add excessive dander to your home’s air and they can bring more particulates like dust, pollen, dirt and other particulates from outdoor into your home? The more pets you have, the more frequent you will need to change the filter. For every pet you have in your home, you should expect to get 30 fewer days of performance from your filter. 

  • Do you have allergies? 

Changing and maintaining clean the air filters must be priority for those who have allergies. In Florida, you may need to change your filters more frequently due to the presence of moisture, mold, dust and allergens. If you or any other your family member has allergies and are sensitive to contaminants in the air, then it is a good idea to change the filters every 30 days, no more than 45 days. This will help you, your family and your guests to breath and rest easy. Cleaner air means better health for everyone in the end of the day. 

  • What type of air filter do you have?

A final factor to consider is the efficiency of your air filter. More efficient filters are designed to trap more particles and last for longer periods of time. It is important to pay attention on the filters manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the replacement and make adjustments based on your usage, how many people occupies the house and if you have pets.  

Due to the considerations above, follow a brief guideline to help you understand the right moment to change your AC filter: 

  • Unoccupied vacation homes: 6 to 12 months. Depending on how often the AC is used 
  • Occupied vacation homes – short term rentals: every 30 days. 
  • Single person household – no pets: 4 to 6 months.
  • Single person household – 1 pet: every 60 days
  • Family household – no pets: every 90 days
  • Family household – multiple pets: every 20 days

*AC filters should be put and changed to all air return vents, not just where the HVAC is. This is a big mistake most homeowners make. 

Can my AC system still run without an AC filter? What problems can arise from not using an AC filter?

Although the answer is yes, you should never attempt to run your AC if it doesn’t have a filter. We understand that sometimes you don’t have a spare filter on hand to replace your current one, but you are better off waiting until you have a new one to replace. Running your AC without a filter is a lot worse than running it with a dirty one. Without a filter, your AC is at risk for severe and expensive problem. It could lead to decreased comfort and permanent damages to your HVAC system, which may result in hefty repair bills. Some of the most common issues that can arise from not using an AC filter includes: 

  • Issues with the system motor or compressor: Dirt and other debris are the main culprits behind compressor and motor malfunctions. Without a proper filter blocking contaminants, they can get inside the motor and compressor and cause strain on the system’s operation.
  • Poor indoor quality: Your air filter traps harmful substances and prevents them from circulating throughout your home. Without an air filter, you’ll see a significant drop in the quality of your indoor air, which could affect the health of your family.
  • Higher energy bills: Because the lack of an air filter can cause your motor or compressor issues, the entire system will have to work harder to cool your home. This can lead to higher energy bills as the system will require more power to function.
  • Water damage: Without an air filter to capture debris, your condensate drain can become clogged. This drain helps to get rid of the extra humidity your air conditioner removes from your home, and with no place for this moisture to drain, it can back up and cause water damage to your system.
  • Dirty ductwork: Because your air filter collects dirt and dust, these particles will move freely through your system if a filter isn’t present. This means debris can build up inside your ductwork, leading to inadequate airflow and other issues.

*Take our advice, never run your system without an air filter. 

Changing the AC filter is a simple, easy step to take to keep your system running great and to promote superior air quality. LB Cleanup Services can simply help you with this task. Please let us know if this is something you would like us to do and we can add this service on our cleaning routine.