Your air conditioner is a critical system that keeps your home comfortable and even safe during the hot months of the year. When temperatures outdoors reach the 90s and above, it can become dangerously hot inside your home if your AC is not functioning. So it only makes sense to learn about how to take care of this expensive piece of equipment properly and get the most extended life possible from your investment. And one of the most affordable and simple ways to increase the life of your AC unit is to keep the air filter clean.
Why The Air Filter Is Important
Most homeowners think that if the air quality in their home is ok, then their AC air filter must be doing its job. But the air purity or quality inside your home is not the primary purpose of an AC filter. The real job of these air filters is to protect the AC equipment. A good filter will eliminate most of the dust and dirt from the air before it moves into the AC equipment. You really cannot access the inside of the unit to clean it. But a good filter will keep it as clean as possible, which also reduces undue wear and tear.
If you do not know what size filter your AC unit uses, just remove the current filter and look along the side for the size. You can also go to the AC manufacturers website and look up the size and type of filter that they recommend for your AC unit. The average filter should be replaced monthly, but some more expensive options will last for 2 or 3 months. If accessing your air filters is difficult, it could be worth the few extra dollars to buy a more expensive filter. This will limit the number of times you need to install a replacement each year.
Problems Caused By A Dirt Air Filter
A filter’s job is to catch debris and stop it from flowing into the AC unit in this case. And the longer the filter is working correctly, the more dirt and particles begin to clog its surface. At some point, the filter is covered with debris, and even the clean air cannot pass through it properly. When this happens, the airflow to your AC is restricted, and your expensive issues begin.
When your air conditioner is forced to work harder to draw air through the clogged and dirty air filter, it uses more energy. And that means that your electric bill is going to increase. But it also means that the mechanical portion of your AC unit is overworked and overstressed. And like all pieces of equipment, this added stress takes its toll by shortening the life expectancy of your AC. This can be a costly mistake to make.
Reduced airflow can also cause your coil to freeze because the cooler air is trapped inside the unit. The ice on the coil acts as insulation and impedes the cooling process. So again, you are spending more money on electricity to run your AC unit. But you are getting less cooling from the process. And finally, lack of airflow through your AC can cause what is known to AC pros as short cycling. This is a process where the AC shuts down shortly after it turns on. It is a built-in safety feature that is designed to keep the air starved unit from becoming damaged. And while the safety feature does save you from destroying your AC unit, it wastes a tremendous amount of energy, continually restarting the unit. And that also adds unnecessary wear and tear to the mechanical parts. So you are paying more, getting less cooling, and shortening the life of your AC unit.
An air filter for your home’s AC unit can be purchased at the big box store or even on Amazon for just a few dollars. But that small financial investment and a few minutes of your time to install the new filter could save you thousands of dollars in repair bills, or even worse, the cost of a new air conditioner. If you have any questions about replacing your AC air filter or any issue regarding your AC, call the pros at Action Air & Plumbing. We have a team member answering (806) 787-6501 24/7, so you will always speak to a live person who can assist you.