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Why Knowing When to Change Your Air Filter is Essential to Your Air Conditioner’s Health

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air-filtersSummer is almost here in the New Jersey area. For many homeowners, that means you will soon be turning on the air conditioner.

But did you know that you hold the keys to one of the most important parts of keeping your air conditioner running and efficient? That’s right, we’re talking about your air filter.

Your air filter must be changed regularly to keep things running smoothly this summer. Here’s why…

Air filters remove particles that can be harmful to your air conditioner

The standard air filters that come with many new home heating and air conditioning systems are cheap, fiberglass filters. These filters don’t do much to improve the indoor air quality of your home, but they are extremely important to your air conditioner and heater.

Air filters remove airborne particles that can become lodged in your heating and cooling system, causing higher operating costs and even repairs. And if you don’t change your air filter, you run into even more problems because…

A dirty air filter stops being effective

Have you ever tried to clean a pan with a rag or sponge that is already saturated with junk? Not very effective.

Well, that’s similar to how air filters work. Once they become saturated with dirt and debris, they can’t remove any more. In fact, if you leave a dirty air filter in your heating and air conditioning system, it will actually prevent your system from allowing air to pass through and heat and cool the home which can cause problems and the need for repairs.

In addition…

A dirty air filter robs your air conditioner of efficiency

In other words, a dirty air filter can make your air conditioning bills much higher this summer.

clean and dirty air filter

Take a look at the photos above. The filter on the left is dirty and air can’t easily pass through (you can barely see through it.) Compare that with the image on the right after the washable filter has been cleaned and you can see the difference.

A dirty air filter reduces the amount of air your cooling system can receive, making it have to work harder to provide the same amount of air. (It’s like if you were forced to breathe through a small straw. You’d have to use more energy to get the same amount of air.)

So how often should I change my air filter?

How often you need to change your air filter depends on the type you have installed in your heating and air conditioning system.

Basic fiberglass filters should be changed (or at least checked) monthly. Replace them as soon as they look dirty.

Higher efficiency air filters can last from three months to a year, depending on how much you use your system and how efficient they are.

Need help determining when you should change your air filter? Give us a call at ​908-284-2422. Or you can schedule your annual air conditioning tune-up and we’ll take a look when we’re there.