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dity air filterWhen was the last time you changed your forced-air cooling and heating system’s air filter? If you’re having trouble remembering, join the club – many Tampa-Clearwater area homeowners forget to clean or replace their air filters at the appropriate intervals. One thing to remember is that holding on to that dirty air filter spells bad news not just for your HVAC system’s efficiency, performance and longevity, but also for your home’s indoor air quality.

The Perils of a Dirty Air Filter

Your HVAC system draws a steady flow of air into the return air duct, where the air is conditioned and circulated throughout the home. This airflow also passes through the air filter, which captures the majority of the airborne particles commonly found in indoor air (if it’s an efficient enough filter). The air filter continues to collect dust, pet dander and hair, pollen and other debris until it’s clogged or changed before it fills up with debris.

A dirty air filter has plenty of drawbacks. For starters, your HVAC system can’t get the proper airflow it needs to function properly. The air handler motor also works harder to pull air from the return duct, potentially shorting the component’s lifespan while wasting energy. This lack of airflow can potentially cause the evaporator coil to freeze over. In furnaces, the heat exchanger may become too hot to properly operate, and will shut down.

Dirty air filters also pose a health risk, especially for asthma and allergy sufferers. Unfiltered return air can potentially bypass the clogged filter and contaminate the ductwork, blower fan and your indoor air with airborne pollutants.

When and How to Change Your Air Filter

Ideally, you should replace the air filter on a monthly basis for the best performance and indoor air quality. Some manufacturers may suggest 60- or 90-day intervals depending on your home’s circumstances. If you have several pets or occupants who are particularly sensitive to allergens, it’s best to change your filter on a more frequent basis.

At Senica Air Conditioning, Inc., Inc., we have more information on how a dirty air filter can cause trouble for homeowners. Contact us to schedule an appointment for your Tampa area home comfort needs.

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