Replacing the Air Filter Regularly Avoids Several Potentially Devastating Issues

October 1, 2013
Ross and Witmer

Your heating and cooling systems work hard to keep your North Carolina home comfortable. It’s only reasonable that you should give it a hand. In addition to scheduling regular tune-ups, one of the most important things you can do is making sure the air filter is checked frequently and changed as soon as it looks dirty. This can help you avoid several potentially devastating issues.

What Happens When an Air Filter Is Dirty

The filter in your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner catches particulates before they can clog the essential components in your air handler. The filter also helps to keep particulates out of your air stream. A dirty filter restricts airflow. That means your system has to work harder. This can spike your energy bills and eventually necessitate repairs. In addition, a filter that’s already clogged can no longer remove particulates from the air stream. That means you’re breathing them, which can be a real issue if you or any family members have respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD.

Checking and Changing the Filter

Most air filters are easy to access. Once a month, pull it out and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see through it, replace it. Some systems have washable filters. Check your owner’s manual, or call your HVAC-system contractor if you don’t know whether your system has a washable filter or one that needs to be replaced.

Also ask your contractor about the type of filter you should have. Many low- and medium-efficiency systems have filters with the lowest minimum efficiency reporting value: 1 through 4. You may want one with a higher MERV rating, as it will be able to catch much smaller particulates. These typically come with a larger surface area. But you want to make sure your filter doesn’t restrict airflow. That’s why you need to talk with your contractor or consult your owner’s manual.

If you’re not in the habit of checking and changing your air filter, it’s a good idea to develop the habit now. Your heating and cooling systems will last longer, and you’ll breathe easier.

Ross & Witmer has been Charlotte’s go-to source for heating and air conditioning for more than 50 years. We understand the importance of a clean and comfortable home. Contact us for more information about your HVAC system or to schedule an appointment.

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