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The Real Purpose of an HVAC System Filter

AC Filter

Most homeowners know that their HVAC system has an air filter that needs to be changed on a regular basis. However, what most homeowners don’t know is the reason why they’re supposed to change it. Contrary to popular belief, the air filter isn’t there to keep your home’s air clean. In fact, it has very little to do with your indoor air quality.

The air filter’s primary job is to keep dirt, dust, and debris out of the interior of your HVAC system. Let’s go over the big job that a tiny air filter performs on a daily basis and why it’s so important. We’ll also take a look at what can happen to your HVAC system when you neglect this essential maintenance task.

HVAC Air Filters: Small Part, Big Job

It helps to think of the filter in your HVAC system as having a similar job to the one in your car. These filters are designed to keep tiny particles such as dust and dirt out of the complex, working parts of advanced machines like air conditioners, furnaces, and engines.

Keeping the interior parts clean will help your HVAC system work better. But the air filter has little to do with your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). For that, you’ll need a system that’s designed to tackle poor IAQ.   

How Often Should I Change the Air Filter?

Changing the air filter is a simple task that should be on every homeowner’s DIY checklist. If you’ve ever had an HVAC contractor tell you that it’s something only they should do, that’s just not true. 

Homeowners should change out or clean the air filter every 1-3 months when the HVAC system is actively being used. How often depends on numerous factors such as how many household members and pets you have, whether you live in a rural or urban area, or if there are allergy sufferers or family members with respiratory illnesses.

The best way to determine if it’s time for a new filter is to examine it to see how dirty it is. When in doubt, change it out. Your HVAC system will thank you for it!

What’ll Happen if It’s Not Changed?

When the air filter isn’t changed regularly, you’ll notice a decline in your system’s performance. It makes perfect sense. Think about what would happen if you never changed the air filter in your car. Eventually, you’ll find yourself stranded on the side of the road with the check engine light on. 

There are some common AC issues that can be caused by a dirty air filter and will result in the need for central AC service in Hagerstown, MD. Some possible symptoms include:

  • Lukewarm air or reduced airflow coming from the vents
  • The AC can’t get your home to the temperature on the thermostat
  • Increased energy bills that can’t be accounted for through usage
  • Formation of ice on the AC coils
  • Short cycling

To keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape, be sure to change the filter on a regular basis.

At Hagerstown Heating & Cooling, we want to protect customers from Google and other contractors. Honesty at Its Best. 

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