What Makes the AC Filter So Dirty?

What Makes the AC Filter So Dirty?

Those who are prudent in caring for their home and its many various systems know that they should regularly replace the air filter in their heating and air conditioning system. Over time, your air filter becomes clogged up with dust, dirt, and other debris as your system pulls in air to be conditioned. That means you’ll need to replace it with a new filter in order to make sure your system works properly. Generally, you’ll need to replace your system every six months to a year, but do you find that you’re actually needing to replace your filter more often than that? You might be experiencing one of these fairly common problems.

Pet Hair

Dogs, cats, and other furry pets often shed their fur, particularly during spring and fall seasons. This leads to hair floating around in the air, attaching to your clothes, furniture, and carpet, and much more. This also means it gets sucked into your air filter, clogging it up and making it harder for air to get into your system. The more pets you have, the more you’ll experience this issue. However, you can greatly reduce this problem with frequent vacuuming, especially in the carpeted areas of your home. Also, brushing your pet frequently can help control the shedding problems.

Fan Setting

The fan in your HVAC system has two settings: “auto” and “on.” The “auto” setting turns the fan on when your heating or cooling system turns on, while the “on” setting keeps the fan running at all times, regardless of whether the heater or cooler are also on. While this can help keep air circulating throughout your home, it also continues to pull air through your air filter, and the dirt and debris floating in it. Switching your fan to “auto” and using standalone fans will keep air circulating while preventing your air filter from clogging up so frequently.

Extreme Temperatures

Turning your fan setting to “auto” doesn’t do a whole lot when it’s blistering hot or freezing cold outside: your HVAC system is going to be turned on and running almost constantly during these times. That means the same thing will happen: your filter will clog up sooner simply because more air is being pulled through it. If the season has been particularly cold or extremely hot, you may to consider having your HVAC system audited for energy efficiency. A more efficient system keeps your home comfortable while running less frequently and using less electricity, which lowers your utility bills and lets you go for a longer period of time before changing your filter.

High MERV Ratings

The MERV rating is a number which describes how effective a filter actually is. While you might think a better filter is good for your health and improves the quality of your life, you may actually find you’re mistaken. The average home doesn’t need an air filter that’s rated for use in an intensive care unit in a hospital: there’s just no need for it. Plus if your system isn’t rated to handle this type of an air filter you could be starving it of air that it needs, causing damage to the blower motor, fan, and other critical components.

A thicker air filter also clogs much faster than your typical home air filter, and for most people an average filter will do the job just fine. Even homes where one resident suffers from severe allergies or asthma don’t need the maximum level of air filtration to live comfortably. Instead, bump up your MERV rating one level and see how the symptoms improve. Not only will this save you money by not requiring you to buy expensive filters, but you’ll still get the clean, fresh air you need.

High Dust Concentration

Have you recently done a home improvement project involving dealing with wood or drywall? Is it really windy outside? These are all factors which contribute to an increased amount of dust in your home, which gets into the air, causes allergy problems, and clogs your air filter quicker. Anything that isn’t immediately vacuumed up can get sucked into your system and contribute to your need for constant filter replacements.

Keeping your windows closed is one way to lower the amount of dust in your home, but there are other ways to cut down on this problem as well. If you’re performing a dusty job indoors, be sure to keep your work area clean by vacuuming frequently. You should also regularly vacuum even when you’re not doing work on your home, and dust using a static-cling sheet—a regular feather duster doesn’t actually take care of the problem, it just releases the dust into the air so it can settle somewhere else.

To learn more about purchasing the proper air filter, have your system evaluated by a Sugar Land air conditioning expert! Call Trademark Home Services today at (281) 819-5852 to schedule an appointment!