The short answer to this is, “Well… it doesn’t help.”
A dirty air filter certainly does not help your indoor air quality, but improving your indoor air quality is not its intended purpose either. We touched on this very briefly in our previous blog post, regarding tips on how to boost AC efficiency while preventing repair needs, but your air filter needs to be cleaned every 1-3 months in order to maintain airflow and block debris from reaching the interior components of your air conditioner.
Reach on to learn more about what a dirty air filter does:
Decreases Your Comfort
However small an air filter seems, it has a big job. It’s seemingly minor involvement in the cooling process makes it a deceiving component of your HVAC systems. This air filter is settled between the intake air and your HVAC system, and as we mentioned, a clogged air filter will block airflow—it does this by preventing air from circulating through the vents.
In other words, you won’t have enough conditioned air making its way into your home to keep you cool. On that same note, if you’re using a forced air heater for winter warmth, you won’t be warm enough if your air filter is too clogged!
When you have uneven temperatures in your home, or if the temperature in your living space doesn’t seem to match the temperature on your thermostat, a clogged air filter can certainly be the culprit. And this is just the start of what a dirty air filter can do!
Increases Your Energy Bills
When the air filter is too clogged up, the blower fan of your HVAC system has to work even hard to try to bring in the right amount of air. Unaware homeowners will often lower the temperature on their thermostat, thinking that will resolve the problem—when really all their doing is setting unrealistic expectations for that air conditioner, and causing it to struggle as a result.
Changing your air filter on a routine basis is one of the easiest ways to boost efficiency, and therefore keep your utility bills within a reasonable range and perhaps even lower them, depending on how long it’s been since you changed the filter.
As for how often you should change it—1-3 months is the general recommendation. It depends largely on the type of air filter you have—a more expensive, pleated filter will usually last 3 months maybe even more. It also depends on the level of contaminants in your home. For instance, a home that only has dust to worry about may not need their air filter changed as much as a home that has pet hair and dander, caustic cleaning products, and/or cigarette smoke.
On that last note, if you do have significant contaminants in your home, then it could do you a lot of good to consider the installation of a whole-home air purifier. While your air filter protects the health of your HVAC systems, an air purifier will protect the health of you and your family!
Whether you are looking for indoor air quality solutions or AC service, we’re the HVAC service company to turn to. At Comfort Incorporated, we keep your family safe, healthy and comfortable–call today, service today.