Many homeowners don’t realize how important it is to change the A/C filter routinely. The filter traps airborne particulates that interfere with the performance of the air handler. When filters get too dirty, the whole system runs less efficiently, which drives up cooling costs and increases wear and tear throughout the appliance.
During the cooling season, it’s important to check the filters monthly. A dirty filter slows the airflow going through the air handler and brings in dust that can settle on the evaporator coil inside the air handler. The heat transfer from your home’s air and the refrigerant slows when the airflow decreases or the coil becomes too dirty. You run the risk of the coil freezing over, which makes the system run longer.
The compressor in the outdoor condenser continues to run, and if it gets too hot, it will fail. A burned-out compressor is a high price to pay for something that can be avoided when you change the A/C filter. Many busy homeowners make a note to check the air filter each month on the day they receive their electric bill since the two are closely related. The Department of Energy estimates that as much as half of your electric bill in the summer goes toward keeping your home cool.
When you buy replacement air filters, make sure you’re buying the exact size for your system. Any gaps between the air filter frame and the filter will bring dirty, unfiltered air into the system.
Another consideration is the effectiveness of the filter for removing and holding particulates, expressed as its MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. Residential MERV ratings run from 1 to 16. Higher ratings indicate the filter removes smaller particles. The fiberglass filters have ratings from 1 to 4, while the pleated filters commonly available range from 5 to 7. In most cases, the filter should not exceed 7 because a filter that’s too dense slows the airflow and can damage your system.
If you would more information about why you should routinely change the A/C filter, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. If you want a hassle free way to purchase new filters. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Portland area since 1976.