An HVAC system is made up of many components. Compared to the terminals, seals, wires, and other parts that comprise the unit, an air filter is a relatively simple piece of the puzzle. Even though it is small and simple, it is certainly not minor. Neglecting the air filter can have substantial consequences in the function and performance of your unit.

What Does an Air Filter Do?

HVAC air filters are designed to protect the components of the system from particles and debris. By limiting the amount of dust and contaminants that enter the system, it guards the unit against the wear and tear that the buildup of dust and dirt can cause. The collection of dust, dirt, pet hair, lint, mold, and bacteria not only protects your unit, but also protects you from costly repairs and replacement.

Why Should You Change Your Air Filter?

When an air filter is not replaced in the appropriate amount of time, significant damage can be caused to your HVAC unit. As a filter fills up with dirt and dust, airflow is restricted. This restriction creates too much resistance and causes the system to have to work harder to do its job. The resulting increase of wear and tear on the unit could cause malfunction and even failure.

Another consequence of a clogged air filter is a reduction in energy efficiency. As dust and dirt accumulate and clog the filter, it is no longer able to prevent build up of dust on the fan and other moving parts.  Dust-jammed parts become sluggish and less effective. They require more power to function, and your monthly energy bill will reflect this with an increase in cost.

Not only could you face an increased energy bill, your health could be impacted. A dirty filter can lead to dirty ducts which can lead to dirty air circulating through your house. The result of dirty air in your home might be an increase in allergy symptoms or upper respiratory difficulties.

How Often Should an Air Filter Be Changed?

It is recommended that HVAC filters be replaced every three months. Homes in dustier climates or that have pets should replace filters as often as every two months. Residents suffering from seasonal allergies due to heavy pollen may consider replacing the filter even more frequently.

Air filters in HVAC units can be replaced easily and at a fairly minimal cost to you. When compared to the cost of repairs or even unit replacement, there is no doubt that the time, effort, and cost of regular filter replacement is a wise choice.