If your home’s HVAC system is like most in the region, it consists of an air conditioner and furnace installed within a single cabinet that connects to ductwork and uses the same blower fan. Air enters the cabinet through a return air duct, and between this duct and the cabinet sits a special filter. The filter protects the internal components of the AC, furnace, and blower from dust that can lead to stress on the mechanical parts.
Over any period when the air conditioner or furnace runs on a regular basis (i.e. summer and winter), debris caught inside the filter will build up to the point where the fan cannot draw sufficient air. This leads to a drop in performance and a rise in energy bills.
Understanding Your Air Filter
There are different types of filters that have varying schedules for when they need to be changed to prevent problems with clogging.
- Permanent filters: These filters don’t need to be changed; instead, they need to be removed and cleaned every 2 months. The best way to clean one is to spray it with a garden hose (on low pressure to avoid damaging the filter). Only replace the filter in the HVAC cabinet when it has thoroughly air dried, or else it risks developing mold, mildew, and bacteria.
- Fiberglass panel filters: The most basic type of temporary filter is made of a simple panel of fiberglass. You can purchase these in packs for very little money, but you need to keep diligent about changing them every month.
- Pleated polyester filters: The most effective filters are made of polyester and pleated with ridges. Although more expensive than panel filters, pleated filters do not need to be changed as often. They can often last a whole season of 3 months, and sometimes half a year. But be careful that you don’t have a pleated filter that’s so thickly woven it will restrict airflow. When in doubt, consult with your local HVAC professionals.
Red Rock Mechanical LLC serves Northwest Vermont and the Plattsburgh, NY area with air conditioning, heating, and plumbing.