Why is it so important to clean air conditioner air filters?
How do you properly maintain your air conditioner filters?
The air filter plays a big role in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. This component of the air conditioning system often gets left behind. This article will help you understand the different air conditioner air filters and how to properly care for them.
What are air conditioner air filters?
An air filter is a device that filters particles out of the air. Air conditioner filters are made up of a porous structure through which large, harmful particles cannot pass. They prevent dangerous pollutants and allergens from spreading into the indoor environment and polluting the air. For this reason, they have a beneficial impact on your health.
Air conditioner filters are in most cases made of a fine strand of fiberglass, fine paper, or fabric that clamps onto a frame.
Some harmful particles and microorganisms that an air conditioner filter can protect you from include:
- Pet hair
- Dead skin or dander
- Other air pollutants
The cleanliness of air filters is of great importance to people's health, especially for those who have greater sensitivity to air quality and have allergies or illnesses such as asthma. The good good condition of the filters is important for everyone because they improve indoor air quality.
What are the different types of air filters for air conditioners?
As technology has advanced, air filters have improved in different ways. Listed below are some of the most commonly used types:
Fiberglass air filters
This is one of the most common types. These filters are designed for single use only. The fiberglass threads or fibers are arranged on a metal or cardboard frame. And the fiberglass serves as a barrier for the harmful particles.
This type of filter is not particularly effective, but it is a popular option among homeowners because of the lower cost.
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters
These operate on a very small scale and are highly controlled by various regulations. They can filter up to 99.97% of all 0.3 micron airborne particles.
The way these filters work is slightly different from other types, thus achieving effective particle removal. The glass fibres in the HEPA filter form a fibrous maze.
HEPA filters can trap bacteria and tobacco particles from the air. The problem is their high cost and the need for a professional contractor to install, making them only suitable for people with specific needs, have allergies and illnesses.
Plisse air filters
This type of filters resemble fiberglass filters. Pleated filters use polyester or another fabric material to perform the filtration. They have a greater ability to trap the flow of dust in the room.
The polyester fabric is pleated in an accordion shape, making them much denser than flat filters. Thus, the larger surface area exerts less resistance on the air flow and thus ensures a longer life of the filters themselves.
Reusable/washable air filters
Washable filters are filters composed of fabric that can be cleaned and washed and then reused. They are affordable and are designed for low intensity use.
When washing these filters you should be careful to avoid damaging them. They must be well dried before using them to prevent microorganisms from developing in them.
Why is it necessary to replace air conditioner air filters?
Air filters trap harmful particles and pollutants from the air and allow clean, fresh air to move through the room. However, the problem occurs over time when various particles build up in the filters. This can reduce the total volume of air passing through them. And with less air flowing through the air conditioner's filters, you'll want to set the air conditioner's fan to a higher setting to achieve the same effect.
Doing so will get you a higher electricity bill and degraded air conditioner efficiency at the end of the month. Those are two things you definitely don't want! Clogged air conditioner filters can increase your electricity bills by about 15%.
The other problem of dirty filters is the re-entry of harmful particles into the air. Due to the large number of pollutants trapped in the filter, there is a high chance that some pollutants will make their way back in and get dirty indoor air.
That's why it's extremely important to regularly change or clean your air conditioner's filters.
How often should you clean your air filter?
Cleaning your air filter regularly is important, but the frequency of cleaning depends on how you use it. We recommend that you clean your air conditioner air filters every two weeks, which is approximately 200-250 hours of use, and replace them every 3-4 months. It is a good idea to have a new replacement air filter before the busy summer or winter season begins.
Our expert tip: You can take advantage of a smart air conditioner controller to monitor the condition of your air filter and be notified exactly when it's time to clean it.
Buying a new air conditioner filter isn't always a last resort. You should track your cleaning cycle, and clean the filter to achieve optimal cooling or heating with cleaner air.
The number one reason air conditioners don't heat or cool properly is dirty filters. So if you notice your unit isn't running efficiently enough, it's time to clean or replace the filter.
A clogged filter can increase the load on the fans, causing the air conditioner to run at high speeds all the time.
If the filter is already completely clogged, it can no longer trap dirt and dust and becomes an active source of contaminants in the HVAC system (especially in central/ducted systems). And dirty filters will increase your electricity bill because the air conditioning will be running at a higher output.
That's why it's extremely important to clean the air conditioner filter regularly. How do you check if the filter needs to be cleaned? Place the filter against a light source and if you can't see through it, then it's time to clean it.