There’s a common misconception about the purpose of an HVAC system’s air filter. It does have an important job, but it might not be the exact job you’re thinking of. Most homeowners believe that their HVAC air filter is in place to protect their indoor air quality.
Having this air filter in place certainly doesn’t hurt your indoor air quality, but this is not its main purpose. Instead, this air filter is in place to protect the sensitive interior components of the system itself from dust, dirt, and other debris that could be in your air.
This air filter has its limits, and because of this should be changed on a regular basis. Read on to learn more!
The Role of Your HVAC Air Filter
As we alluded to above, your HVAC system’s air filter plays an important role… it’s not just a luxury component meant to keep your air quality cleaner and more comfortable.
Air quality improvement is a nice side-effect of the air filter, but the filter’s main purpose is to defend your HVAC systems’ against contaminants that could impact the coils, compressor, refrigerant lines, heat exchangers, and more. If these components get too coated with dirt and grime, they could lose efficacy, becoming unable to absorb or release heat as they should. This exacerbates wear and tear in your system, and can cause a premature system breakdown.
The Benefits of a Clean Air Filter
You should be changing your air filter every 1-3 months–depending on the type of filter it is and the level of contaminants in your home–in order to enable it to do its job properly. If it gets too clogged up, it will restrict airflow, which also creates problems with the efficacy of your HVAC systems. But when you do change the air filter as you should, you’ll see the following benefits:
- Better Energy Efficiency: As long as your HVAC systems are able to access clean, fresh air that’s coming through the return ductwork, then they can achieve the maximum energy efficiency that they are meant to.
- Cleaner Air: As we said, cleaning your air isn’t the main purpose of the HVAC air filter, but it does help. Contaminants like dust, dirt, pet hair and dander, and even household fumes are drawn into the air filter as the HVAC system runs, reducing the level of contaminants in the air. For truly comprehensive air cleaning, however, ask us about our various air purifier and air filtration offers.
- Longer Lasting HVAC Equipment: You know how we mentioned that your air filter protects the interior components of your HVAC systems from contaminants? Well, this also helps them last longer, which increases the overall lifespans of both your heater and air conditioner.
- Avoid Your HVAC System Overheating: When an air filter gets too clogged up and airflow gets restricted, this means that air can get trapped in the system. If it’s hot air, it can cause the components to overheat, which can lead to a system breakdown.