Talk about air conditioning components and the first which comes to mind is air conditioning filter. The AC’s performance depends a lot on how the filter is being maintained. A clean filter means you are breathing pure air whereas a dirty filter lets circulation of air filled with pollutants. Each part of the air conditioning system, be it ductwork or the air conditioning refrigerant, needs filter which is thoroughly washed.
What can happen if the air conditioning filter is not maintained properly?
Firstly it will place excessive stress on your monthly energy bills since the AC system works harder to keep the place cool. Since action of each air conditioning part is interlinked, an unclean filter puts greater pressure on other components, thus shortening their life spans. This is turn means the AC system might conk out anytime forcing you to spend more for repair and maintenance purposes. Finally, if you don’t want to compromise with your family’s health then give proper attention to the AC filter.
How often do you change it?
It depends on the AC load, e.g. for home cooling systems, changing the filter every month or alternate months will suffice. However, for commercial or industrial installations, this should be done every alternate week. Don’t wait till the filter turns pitch black with dirt. Rather, follow a proper maintenance schedule.
Sometimes performance of the filter depends on its brand too. You might find some brands sturdier than others. A good idea to judge the filter's ability is by assessing its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), which ranges between 1 to12. Higher rating ensures the filter is more effective in removing not only dust but also animal dander, mold, pollen and other allergens. In general, an air conditioning filter can screen out 3 to 10 microns of particles. A good idea is to consult an air conditioning specialist in this regard to know how often the AC filter should be maintained.
Ensure proper installation of the Air Conditioning Filter
If it is placed inaccurately or loosely, then the ultimate purpose of filtering is lost. Thus the filter needs to be placed in accurate direction which is usually indicated by an arrow marked either on the side or on the face of the filter. Air flow should be in the direction as indicated by the arrow. Then the air conditioning filter needs to be fitted tightly. A perfect seal prevents unfiltered air from seeping in and damaging your air conditioning system. Thus, it is always advisable to get in touch with an HVAC expert only for accurate fitting of the AC filter.
Five common types of air conditioning filters are available in the market. Conventional/ Pleated fiberglass disposable filters, Electrostatic filters, Electronic filters and Carbon Filter, of which the first two are generally used for home/office/industrial/commercial settings. Rather than trying it on your own, better get in touch with an expert to know what filter best suits your AC and how often it needs to be maintained/changed.