A dirty air filter can significantly affect the performance of your HVAC unit. Cleaning or changing the AC filter regularly will lower the amount of energy used for heating and cooling and prolong the life of the unit.

What Does an AC Filter Do?

Filters perform several functions. The first is to keep the entire HVAC system free of dust and airborne particulates. Air must flow freely over coils and through ducts for the unit to operate efficiently. Coils coated with dust affect heat exchange, reduce AC efficiency, and cause the compressor to work harder. Dust circulating through ducts reaches every element of the system and eventually enters the living space.

Filters help keep indoor air clean from dust, dander and other airborne pollutants. Filters are rated according to their ability to capture particles of specific sizes. Higher numbers correspond to better efficiency. Filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), of eight or higher, capture most common household airborne pollutants. If a filter is too efficient, it can restrict air flow and reduce AC-efficiency. Your HVAC contractor can help you decide which filter is best suited for your system.

Signs It’s Time to Change the Filter

Each manufacturer provides a timetable recommending the optimum time for cleaning or changing the HVAC filter. If you live in an area with a lot of dust, have furry pets or run the air conditioner constantly during the hot summers in Lafayette, Louisiana, the filter should be cleaned every month. One of the best ways to determine whether it’s time to clean the filter is to look at it. If it is gray and has particles embedded in the duct side, it’s time to clean or replace it. Some types of filters cannot be cleaned and must be replaced each time.

HVAC filters are effective in keeping particulates from entering and circulating within a system. If indoor air quality is a concern for you and your family, Lee’s Air Conditioning Co. offers a number of products effective in keeping indoor air clean – including those that reduce mold growth, purify air and increase ventilation.

For more information about how we can help you improve indoor air quality in your home, call (337) 232-5337 to speak with one of our NATE-certified technicians.