The air conditioning unit is something most of us don’t notice until it stops working. We take it for granted, and we seldom think about the machine that creates a livable environment in our homes during those scorching summer days. Luckily, modern air conditioners are quite reliable and sturdy; they can work with minimal maintenance for extended periods of time. You’ll only need to perform some basic maintenance service on your AC unit, which includes cleaning or replacing air filters. Of course, for other issues, such as damaged condenser, motors or cooling liquid replacement, you should contact a professional HVAC technician.
What are Air Filters and How Do they Work?
Every air conditioning unit has some type of air filter installed. They are the elements that come into contact with the air that you breathe and are crucially important when it comes to indoor air quality. Air filters consist of fine layers of fiberglass, polyester or HEPA, depending on the AC unit model and type. Most air filters are single-use and require regular replacement, but some units use reusable filters, which must be washed regularly.
Air filters are the first barriers against common allergens, like dust, fungi, germs and other small particles that can negatively affect indoor air quality.
The air filter has two very important roles:
It Acts As a Protection System for the Internal Components of the AC Unit.
Clogged, dirty AC filters can reduce air flow significantly, increase power consumption and damage the internal motors due to excess technical stress. Also, clogged filters can deteriorate other fixed components, such as ducts, coils, vents, and connectors. What’s more, if an AC unit continues to work with clogged air filters, the debris, dust, and other contaminants collect on the evaporator coil, fans, blower motor and decrease the rate of heat exchange. The heating coil is particularly sensitive in this situation, as it can increase power costs by 5 to 40 percent, and in severe cases, can damage the unit completely. Recent studies suggest that replacing a clogged up air filter (at least every two months) reduces your AC unit’s power consumption by 5 to 15 percent.
It Helps allow for a Healthy Indoor Environment for the Occupants.
Air filters are crucially important when it comes to our overall health. Although filters cannot eliminate all allergens and contaminants, they are effective in most situations. For instance, modern air filters are designed to eliminate every type of pollen, fungi, dust particles and animal waste. Well maintained AC units can help fight mold infestations, and prevent the buildup of dust and other common allergens.
How Often Should You Change Air Filters?
Changing air filters is the single most important thing a homeowner should do to when it comes to AC unit maintenance. Air filters should be replaced, at a minimum, every three months, if you live in a temperate area. Experts suggest that, while the three-month replacement period is ideal for most homeowners living in temperate areas of the country, in other areas filters should be replaced at different intervals. For instance, in arid and dusty climates, you should change the air filters every month, particularly if you suffer from respiratory health issues, such as asthma. In hot, humid climates, a 2-month replacement interval is ideal. On the other hand, in colder climates, air filters can be replaced every six months or yearly.
Always go for quality when changing air filters. Try to purchase high-quality baffled filters, made of high-grade fiberglass or polyester. If any member of your family has allergen problems, asthma, or any other respiratory issues, you should buy a high-quality HEPA filter, together with UV purifier for every room.