What's the Absolute Best Way to Avoid an Air Conditioning Emergency?
Change your filters frequently!
No Words to Describe This Monster!
Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The Ebony Ogre.
The Filthy Fiend.
The Hideous Thing that Hides in the Dark.
I can’t come up with enough nasty names for this creepy critter, an air conditioning filter that hadn’t been changed in three years.
Yes. You read that right.
This is a real picture of an air-conditioning filter that had not been changed for more than 36 months! So much dirt and dust was crammed onto the filter that it grew legs and looks like it could walk away on big, black paws.
What’s the big deal about changing filters?
Not only is it ugly and unhealthy, but a filthy filter can also cause major problems to your air conditioning system.
Your unit freezes up
When the condenser can’t push the ultra-cold air out through the filter because it’s so clogged, the cold air circulates around the condenser, causing it to freeze. How would you function if you were coated with ice? Your condenser can’t work when it’s surrounded constantly by frigid air, frozen into inactivity.
Your AC gets less efficient
Your air conditioner is supposed to go through cycles. It cools the air until it reaches the desired temperature. Then it shuts off until the temp gets above the thermostat setting. If your filters are dirty, the cycles become shorter and shorter because the air isn’t cooling. The more cycles, the harder your AC is working, the less efficient it is, and the more it costs you!
Dirty filters can cause significant damage to your system, and if it because the owner didn’t change the filter, the unit is no longer under warranty. Flthy filters will cost you more money than changing them frequently.
Your house has more health hazards
Take one look at the monstrous, filthy filter in the picture above. Now, imagine what it would be like to breathe the air that is being blown through the blackened, grime-encrusted, dirt-packed filter.
Makes you cough just thinking about it, doesn’t it?
Dirty filters hold allergens and microbes that get released into the air you breathe. Air conditioning filters that are plastered with filth can also develop mold, a serious health hazard.
Clean filters improve the health and well-being of everyone but are particularly important to people who have respiratory illnesses, allergies, or asthma.
No one – healthy or unhealthy – needs to breathe in dirt.
How Often Should You Change Your Filters?
How often you change it depends on multiple factors:
The thickness of your filter:
If you're using 1" filters, you should change them every single month. A one-inch filter isn't very thick and gets filled up with dust and dirt quickly.
If you're using filters that are 4"-7" thick, you should inspect them every three months. The thicker the filter, the longer they will last. Some thick filters can last up to six months, but most should be changed every three months.
The size of your home:
Bigger houses circulate more air and require more frequent filter changes.
Whether you’re a pet owner:
As much as we love them, dogs and cats shed hair and dander. You’ll need to change your filters more often if you share your home with animals.
The general state of your health:
If you have respiratory conditions, allergies, or asthma, the cleaner your air filter, the better!
The MERV rating of your filter:
Air conditioning filters are given a MERV rating: a “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.” For residential air conditioners, the optimum MERV rating is 8-12. The higher the rating, the stronger the filter. If you have respiratory issues, you should use filters that are in the 10-12 range. Don’t go above a MERV rating of 12, though, because they are too dense to pull the air through easily.
The brand of filter
Cheaper is not necessarily better. In fact, when you look at the overall wear and tear on your air conditioning system with an inexpensive filter, you’ll see that it’s better to get the filter recommended by the manufacturer of your system, not a generic one from the hardware store. These are higher-quality, custom-fitted filters that keep your system running at maximum efficiency.
Easy Reminder Systems:
Many of our customers opt to change their filters monthly and have provided us with several easy reminder systems I want to share with you:
- In today’s world, calendar apps and “To Do” trackers abound. Lots of customers put a reminder on their app and never forget to change a filter.
- Some people change their filter every month when they receive their electric bill. This is what I recommend when using thinner filters. Tying your filter change to your utility bill is a nice reminder that a clean filter will lower your electricity bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “replacing dirty filters with clean air filters can reduce your energy consumption up to 15%. When you take that and combine it with the fact that your heating and cooling system is responsible for nearly half your energy usage, you could potential save 7.5% each month.
- You can team your filter changes with your animal medications as some customers do. If you give your pet a Heartworm or Flee medication once a month, or once every three months, use that as a reminder to change your air filter.
- Tag the day of your birth, your anniversary, or any other important date. If your birthday is on the 11th, use that day as the day each month that you change the filter.
- When you install your new filter, be sure and mark the date on at least two sides of the filter. Memory is a funny thing. You may think you "just changed the filter," but you'll be surprised how time gets away from you. What you remember as changing it last month may actually be four months ago. Date your filter when you put it in and you'll always know when you're due for a clean one.
“Out of Sight, Out of Mind” is Not a Good Philosophy for your AC
Just because you can’t see your AC filter doesn’t mean you can ignore it. It’s pulling particles, dust, and bacteria out of the air every day so you don’t have to breathe them in.
The easy, sure-fire way to avoid air conditioning emergencies and to keep your equipment running at maximum efficiency is to change the filters on a routine basis.
Don’t create money-stealing, grime-grubbing, health-wrecking monsters in the dark.
Change your air filters frequently!
The Best Option for Homeowners
ClubOne membership at ServiceOne guarantees that your AC system is serviced on a regular basis. Subscribing to a routine maintenance program eliminates the worry of you forgetting to change your air conditioning filters and creating an air conditioning emergency.
Call us to join ClubOne, or to schedule a maintenance check and filter change…before it’s too late.