Each forced-air HVAC system is designed with an air filter in the return duct to trap airborne dust. Without a filter, the dust settles on the air conditioning evaporator coil, eventually reducing or blocking airflow through the air handling unit.
HVAC systems are designed based upon a certain amount of air flowing through the system. Since this air is what carries cooled or heated air to the various rooms of your house, reducing the airflow reduces the efficiency of your system. In other words, you end up paying to heat or cool nothing instead of paying to heat or cool your home.
Changing the system’s air filter regularly is one of the most important — but easiest-to-forget — parts of maintaining the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system. Clean filters allow the proper amount of air to flow through the system, while dirty filters impede air movement.
Your home’s air filter is located either in the system’s return air duct or at the air handling unit itself. In HVAC systems installed in attics, return air ducts are usually mounted in the ceiling of a central hallway in the house. In HVAC systems where the air handling unit is installed in a closet, the air filter is probably located right at the air handling unit.
Most HVAC air filters are designed to last 30 days. At this point, even though the filter doesn’t appear overly dirty, there is enough dust trapped in its fibers to restrict airflow. Some filters are designed to last 60 or even 90 days. While these filters will work for the amount of time advertised, they do so at the cost of slightly reduced system efficiency — a small reduction in airflow.
Many programmable thermostats include alarms to warn you when 30 days are up and it is time to change your filter. This visual alarm often appears as the word “filter” on the thermostat’s screen.
Questions? The heating and cooling professionals at All Year would be glad to help. Please contact the Greater Sacramento HVAC experts anytime.
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