Part of responsible homeownership includes, of course, regular home maintenance. If the HVAC system is inefficient and overworked, which can result in problems and expenses. One such task is changing the filter of the home’s HVAC system. It’s simple and inexpensive, and taking care of it at least every three months can mean the difference between optimum comfort and avoidable repairs.
Most homes have some sort of furnace or heat pump, and many of those homes have combined heating, ventilation and air-conditioning or HVAC systems. Each type uses some type of air filter or screen to prevent larger airborne particles from entering the system and clogging sensitive machinery. A system that has a dirty filter can suffer from pressure drop, which can lead to reduced air flow, resulting in no air infiltration at all. Any of these conditions can cause the system to work harder to keep the home warm. This can put undue stress on the whole system, which can lead to premature failure.
Also, a dirty filter that’s exposed to condensation can become damp, which can lead to mold growth that can be spread throughout the home by the HVAC system. This can lead to serious health consequences, not to mention a compromised unit that will likely require servicing and may require replacement, depending on the severity of the moisture problem.
Most HVAC and furnace filters are disposable, made of biodegradable paper or similar media, and shaped in cells, screens or fins designed to trap as much airborne debris as possible. Filters can typically be purchased in economical multi-packs, and there are many types that will fit different models of furnace/HVAC units. It’s important to use the appropriate filter for your unit; using the wrong filter that doesn’t fit the unit properly can create the same types of problems as having a dirty filter.