The air filter in your home’s furnace, air conditioner or heat pump is an important but often overlooked component of the HVAC system. Though they may seem like nothing more than large cardboard boxes full of fibers or pleated material, air filters actually affect several crucial areas of indoor comfort and HVAC equipment performance. Here’s a brief introduction to air fij anted why these seemingly minor components are so critical to your home’s heating and cooling systems.
An air filter is usually made of a spun fiberglass material or from pleated paper or cloth enclosed in a cardboard frame. It’s basic function is to clean the air that circulates through your heating and cooling system. Filters trap and hold many types of particulates and contaminants that could affect your health and comfort, including:
- Dust and dirt
- Mold and mold spores
- Fibers and lint
- Metal, plaster or wood particles
- Hair and animal fur
- Bacteria and microorganisms
Filtration usually occurs when expended air is brought back into the HVAC equipment to be conditioned and distributed again. The air is forced through the filter, and the material removes particulates and other contaminants from the air.
Air Filter Maintenance
All of the air that heats or cools your home will eventually pass through the air filter in the HVAC system. For this reason, it’s extremely important that you keep clean filters in your heating or cooling equipment.
Dirty, clogged air filter are a primary source of HVAC system malfunctions. In the more extreme cases, dirty filters can damage heating and cooling equipment.
- Dirty air filters can reduce the airflow inside the HVAC system, which can cause air-handling fans to work harder and wear out quicker.
- Dirty air filters can’t remove particulates and contaminants effectively, which allows these materials back into your indoor air.
- Dirty air filters can cause contaminants to accumulate in your HVAC system’s ductwork.
- Dirty air filters can cause HVAC equipment to work harder, increasing energy usage and unnecessarily driving up your monthly energy bills.
Air filters should be checked every month and changed when they get dirty. A visual inspection should show you whether the filters are dirty or clogged. Hold the filter up to a light source; if you can’t see the light through the filter, it should be changed.
Davis Air Conditioning has served home heating and cooling customers in the Texas communities of Houston, Galveston, Brazoria and Sugar Land since 1971. Contact us today for more information on the importance of air filters in your HVAC system and for help choosing the right filter for your needs.
What’s a cabin air filter?
You are probably aware that your vehicle’s engine has an air filter, but did you know that your car’s HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) system may also have one? Commonly called a cabin air filter, it performs the same duties for your HVAC system as the engine air filter does for your car’s engine.
The cabin air filter is a small pleated filter made of multi-fiber paper cotton or other engineered material. Before entering the passenger compartment, outside air is directed through this filter to trap the contaminants inside the filter and prevent them from entering the inside of your vehicle.
How does a cabin air filter work?
Clean air is essential to your vehicle running properly; your car’s engine air filter ensures that clean air reaches the engine. In the same way, your car’s ventilation system counts on the cabin air filter to keep a steady stream of clean air flowing.
The cabin air filter keeps dust, dirt, pollen, bacteria and exhaust gases from entering the HVAC system of your car. It also prevents bugs, leaves and other debris from clogging up the system. Vital to clean air inside the car, the cabin air filter keeps the air inside the car fresh so you and your passengers can breathe easy – something you’ll appreciate all year long but especially during allergy season.
How do I know if my cabin air filter needs changing?
While there is no warning light that comes on when your cabin air filter needs changing, there are some signs that you may notice:
Reduced air circulation inside your passenger compartment
Diminished heating and air conditioning performance
Musty odor in the cabin of the vehicle
Cabin air intake ducting may begin to make an unusual whistling sound
If you observe one or more of these signs, it is likely that the time has come to change it. You can either do the job yourself or have your trusted mechanic switch it out for you.
How often should I change my cabin air filter?
It is recommended that you change your cabin air filter annually or every 12,000 miles. If you find yourself driving in heavily polluted areas or travelling on dirt roads, you should change the cabin air filter every 5,000 miles. Allergy sufferers may want to consider changing it more often to ensure air quality and to reduce their allergy symptoms.
What can happen if I don’t change my cabin air filter?
If you don’t change your cabin air filter, the filter will become more clogged with dirt and debris and the efficiency of the filter and your car’s HVAC system will be compromised. The air volume into your passenger compartment will be continually reduced which will lead to the issue of foul odors inside your car. The simple act of changing your cabin air filter will dramatically improve the air quality in your vehicle.