AC Air Filter Guide to Boost Your Air Conditioner’s Performance

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Your air filter plays an essential role in your HVAC system in Severna. Although it's a simple component, the air filter has a direct impact on the performance of your AC. Learn more about the AC filter and how it can help your system work better. 

The Role of Air Filters

Your HVAC system moves air around your home through a system of ducts. As the air travels around, it accumulates particles of dust, dander, and pollen. Without a filter, your system sends dirty, cool air back into your home. A filter sits in front of your ducts and keeps unwanted particles from going into your living spaces. 

The filter is a porous material that allows air to flow through but keeps out particles large enough to get caught in the pores. Typically, filters keep out allergens and pollutants. Thanks to your air filters, your air is safer to breathe. 

Although air filters are most known for improving the air quality in your home, this isn't their only purpose. They also affect the performance of your AC. If you want to understand how to care for your air conditioner, you need to know more about how a filter affects AC performance. 

Air Filters and Efficiency Ratings

Every air filter has a MERV, or minimum energy efficiency rating value. On a scale of 1 to 16, the MERV tells you a lot about a filter. If an air filter has a high MERV, it can stop small particles. Meanwhile, a filter with a low MERV can only stop large particles.  

You might think that, when it comes to your filters, a higher MERV rating is better. But you don't necessarily want an air filter that rates 16. In a residential setting, you want. MERV value of between six and eight. If you work in a laboratory, then you might want a MERV of 13 or higher. As you might expect, filters with higher MERVs cost more. 

Because filters with high MERVs have such small pores, they slow down the flow of air. The major disadvantage of a high MERV is that the air conditioner needs to work harder to push air through the system. The extra work makes an AC more likely to break down.

Picking the Right Filters for Your System

Getting your system to perform well involves picking the best filter for the job. In addition to considering the MERV, you should also look into the type of filter. By far, the most common type of air filter is the fiberglass filter. This is a single use filter made of fiberglass spun around a frame. It only filters out small particles but is low in cost.

Meanwhile, a HEPA filter can keep out as much as 99.97% of airborne particles. Although this filter also uses glass fibers, they are spun in a different way. If you have a HEPA filter, it can trap bacteria and tobacco. However, the filter is expensive and requires professional installation. 

Pleated filters are similar to fiberglass filters but use polyester or cloth to keep out particles. They have a larger surface area than fiberglass filters, and this allows for better airflow. If you want to improve the performance of your AC, you should consider having pleated filters. 

Changing the Filters As Needed

If you want your system to perform well and your air to be clean, you need to change out your AC filters on a regular basis. When a filter gets dirty, air can't pass through the filter without an extra push. This makes your air conditioner less efficient.  

When you have dirty filters, you can expect to have high energy bills and a worn down AC. The best way to improve your AC's performance is to be diligent about changing out your filters. Although the frequency of replacement depends on how much you use your AC, you should change your air filters at least every four months. If you have pets or live in an area with high pollen, you should change your filters more frequently. 

There's an easy way to figure out how frequently you need to change out your filters. For four months, check your filter once a month. If your filter is clean after the first month, you don't need to change it. But, if your filter is dirty, change it and remind yourself to do so every month. 

Complications of a Dirty AC Filter

If you don't change out your filters, your AC will do more than just be inefficient. One of the most common reasons people need AC repairs is because of dirty filters. You might be in need of residential HVAC service because you haven't changed out your filters. 

This is because a clogged filter demands a lot from your air conditioner. To allow air to flow through your system, the fans need to work overtime. It's only a matter of time before your fan or another component of your AC fails. 

If your filter is dirty enough, the coils on your evaporator will freeze over. It doesn't matter if your coils thaw out; they will go through a cycle of freezing and reheating. If you don't replace the filters, your system could completely stop working. 

Follow These Tips for Optimal Performance 

To sum it all up, there are a few easy things you can do to optimize your AC with your air filters: 

  • Change out your air conditioner filters regularly
  • Use a filter with an appropriate rating
  • Pay attention to signs of a dirty air filter
  • Use a pleated filter
  • Set reminders to change your filters

Perhaps the most important step you can take is to consult with an HVAC technician about your filters. If you aren't sure how to change your filters or need advice on picking out a filter, a reputable technician will be more than willing to help. Here at Bayside Heating and Cooling, we want to give you the advice that will keep your AC running well. Call today and ask us about your AC filter in Severna. 

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