Air filters can quickly get clogged with dust particles and debris, especially when your air conditioning (AC) unit runs around the clock over the warmer months. It’s essential to replace old air filters every couple of months to keep your AC running efficiently, prolong its lifespan, and maintain indoor air quality. This article discusses how best to change air filters, how often you should change them, and some consequences of not replacing old filters.
The Step-by-Step Process
Replacing AC air filters is relatively straightforward. However, if you don’t have any experience changing them, consider asking a trained professional for guidance.
1. Locate the Filter
If your HVAC system is in the attic, the filter will likely be in a ceiling vent. If the HVAC is on a wall, the filter may be located between the unit and the return duct.
2. Check Your Filter Measurements
Different AC systems typically have different filter sizes. They can also have varied Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value ratings. Read the HVAC owner’s manual to double-check the correct measurements for your filter. Alternatively, ask a professional HVAC technician to provide you with accurate measurements.
3. Turn Off the Power
It’s essential to turn off your AC’s power because working on a system with running voltage is dangerous. Removing a clogged filter from a running system can also cause debris, hair, and dust particles to be sucked into it.
4. Remove the Filter
To remove the filter, loosen the fasteners holding the front of the grill to the vent and set aside the cover. Reach in and pull out the old filter, which should be directly behind the cover. Assess the filter’s condition. Clogged and dirty filters are usually a brown-gray colour, while whiteish filters may have some life left.
5. Insert the New Filter
Grab your new filter and locate the arrow pattern on the filter’s edge. The arrows should not point out or toward you, as that would restrict airflow. Instead, the arrows should face the wall. Gently ease the filter into the return duct opening, bottom first. Make sure the filter is firmly placed before putting the cover back on.
How Often Should You Change Air Filters?
Most AC filters require changing between 30 and 90 days, depending on the manufacturer. However, you might need to replace your filter more often if:
- You own a pet that sheds
- Your home gets very dusty
- You or someone you live with has allergies
- Your home has a lot of traffic: Homes with more people or lots of visitors have higher foot traffic, resulting in higher levels of dust and dirt and necessitating more frequent AC filter changes.
What Happens if You Don’t Change Your AC Filter?
It’s important to change or clean your AC filter as recommended by professionals. Potential consequences of not changing the filter include:
- Clogging: Air filters prevent particles like hair, debris, dust, and fumes from entering your HVAC system. If not regularly changed or cleaned, filters can get clogged, leading to a range of problems, some of which are detailed below.
- Lower efficiency: Clogged and dirty filters may not allow sufficient airflow into your HVAC, causing the system to take longer than necessary to cool or warm your home.
- Higher energy bills: The additional time and energy HVAC systems with dirty filters require to heat and cool sufficiently can, in turn, quickly drive up higher energy bills.
- Poor indoor air quality: Clogged filters are unable to prevent additional dust and debris from entering your HVAC system and getting released into the air in your home.
- Shorter lifespan: The strain from operating with clogged air filters can reduce your HVAV’s lifespan, leading to costly repairs or replacing the whole system.
Your Source for Quality HVAC Systems in Canada
If you’re looking to buy a new central air conditioner or replace your old one, contact Canada HVAC. We are your one-stop online shop for long-lasting, energy-efficient air conditioners and HVAC systems. We also connect you to local HVAC technicians for installation.