When was the Last Time you saw your HVAC filters?

Air filters in your heating and air conditioner system are easy to forget. When is the last time you have seen them?

Air filters, depending on the MERV rating which fits more into a discussion of how well you want your air filtered, LINK  are critical to the proper performance of your HVAC system.

Clogged up filters can impact your comfort and damage the components of your HVAC system. Maybe it would be appropriate to go check on them now, and if the are seriously clogged, figure out a new system for making sure the heating and cooling system filters are changed on a regular basis.

What kinds of problems can clogged filters cause?

Clean filters protect our Air Handler components from damage. Your blower fan runs more efficiently when not incumbered by contaminants. Your evaporator coil exchanges heat much more readily when its surface are debris free. A contaminated evaporator coil can cause system imbalance and freezing which can destroy compressors while not keeping you cool LINK and clogged evaporators can allow the growth of mold and make your whole house smell like dirty socks or worse.

Dirty filters gradually increase your system’s back pressure which in progressive stages, can
first increase your discomfort, reduce your flow of conditioned air and eventually destroy the ability of your system to work. Low air flow can cause your system to freeze up again the link on frozen systems LINK but also cause your combustion chamber to crack- do you have a gas furnace with a combustion changer? LINK

Poor air circulation through a combustion chamber allows excessive heat to impact the shell of the chamber and stress it excessively. Repeated stresses eventually will crack or allow the combustion change to corrode, Porosity in the combustion changer can cause fires and potentially contamination of the indoor air with carbon monoxide.

So clean filters are essential to safe and efficient operation of your heating and cooling unit.

Clogged fillers can also create extra pressure  on a clogged filter and with the changed air temperature dynamic in the air handler allow water to condense in the clogged filter and cause the clogged filter to collapse and allow the contaminants in the cold return air to bypass the filter and just steam into your system and coat the evaporator coil with crap and allow crap to collect on the blower motor. You don’t want this to happen either. You prevent these expensive problems from occurring by replacing your air filters on a regular basis.

Clogged filters cause just plain old mundane problems.

Ignored filters creating back pressure can make you miserable by impacting the ability of your system to generate cool or heat as you need it for comfort. Dirty filters can combine with other factors that impact your mechanical system that impedes system balance and create an area of your home leaving you too warm or too hot or just feeling distracted with discomfort.

A dirty, clogged filter can dramatically reduce air flow. A reduced air flow increases furnace and cooling system run time, which increases wear and tear, while your energy consumption- your electrical bill, goes up. Your comfort level is also diminishing. And then the system can break.
Filters can become moldy and wet, and collapse and not be filtering your air at all. This can allow your evaporator coil to crap up and be inefficient and create conditions that can stink up the whole house. LINK
When the air stops flowing, systems can freeze up. LINK

When insufficient air flows through and around your heat exchanger, you can damage it. LINK
Your filters will get timely attention or they will get attention after a more serious problem develops.

If it has been a long time, or some unknown period of time; well, get up out of your chair right now and go check your HVAC filter. Take a picture of it with your smartphone and share it here. People need to be reminded that important stuff like filters can easily be overlooked in the rush of each day…

Filters play 2 critical roles.
They protect our equipment from damaging contamination.
At a minimum your HVAC filters play a key role in how well your HVAC is functioning.
For optimum operation of both the filter and the HVAC equipment, the filters should be replaced or cleaned frequently.The light fiberglass filter that is standard keeps crap out of the mechanics of your system. Like protecting your wet evaporator coils from being covered with wet stuff and losing it ability to keep you cool, or messing up blower motors which work better without detris in the moving parts. We talk about protecting the innards of your air handler here on another key issue, making sure your air return ducts and filter assembly structure is airtight and not bypassing air around the filter.

Secondly, the level of filtration you want in your home to protect your air from mold spores or fine particles, or… depends on proper services of the filtering medium. The length of time between attention to filter installations depends on your chosen filter type.

So what do we have to do to get on top of this Filtration Issue for good?

Of course, you know this, and you have the correct date to next change the filters stored in your smartphone, or written on your calendar… Your filters need to be replaced or cleaned on a regular basis, for your best health, for the proper operation of your cooling and heating equipment.

And, of course, you have a supply of replacement filters in your home, and the replacement filters are the exact size that fits perfectly into your filter box. Poorly fitting filters and leaky return air ducting are a problem ready to happen, but a separate problem we discuss here. LINK

So what can we do to not forget our filters? Oh, and remember what kind fo filters we need?
rewrite –
We suggest putting a note in your phone with filter size so you don’t have to check it each time you are ready for refills. Also, many of the thicker filters have a “nominal” size which is slightly different than the actual dimensions of the filter. Some filters state the actual size on the side, while others just list the nominal size. Unless you are replacing with exactly the same manufacturer’s nominal size filter, It’s best to confirm that any replacement filter is also the correct actual size.

Your filters should be easy to replace with proper instructions available right where you are replacing filters.

Related Topics
Who is watching out for your elderly parents when it comes to home maintenance and safety issues? LINK
Would you rather have someone watching out for your HVAC filters for you?

[image needed plus infographic] So then how long has it been since you saw your HVAC filters?
If you can’t remember, you probably should go check on them.

Filters with higher MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings of MERV 6 or above can trap pollutants like pollen, dust mites, and mold spores.
Images needed – Image captions.

What kind of filters does your system need?
How often are they to be changed?
Dirty filters filter well, too well… until they collapse.

Stu Langley

meet the author at StuLangley.com

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