By Sierra Air Conditioning & Plumbing

During spring and fall maintenances, our Service Technicians most likely have asked if you have changed your filter. But have you ever thought about why it’s so important and what the filter really does?

What Does Your Filter Do?

The filter is one of the most vital but overlooked components of your Home Comfort System. The filter cleans the air that circulates through your system. It is protecting your system by keeping dust and debris from collecting and clogging up. Clogged air filters are one of the most common causes of a system failure.

What Do Filters Actually Filter?

Filters not only filter out dust and pollen that would otherwise circulate through your home and lower your indoor air quality. They also provide the first line of defense against larger objects such as a renegade piece of insulation which may be pulled into your system and damage it.

Filters trap and hold various particulates and contaminants which may be harmful to you and your system including:

  • Dust and dirt
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander and fur
  • Mold
  • Metal, plaster, or wood particles
  • Hair
  • Bacteria and microorganisms

Since the air continuously recirculates through your home, the filter ensures that you are not breathing in dirty air over and over. As the filter collects more and more particulates, it becomes harder for the air to pass through the filter to your system.

How Often Should I Change My Filter?

We recommend changing your filter once a month, but this timeframe will vary depending on your living conditions (if you have pets, if you smoke in your home, etc.). There are also various types of filters that determine how often you need to change your filter.

If you use standard 1” filters, we recommend changing them once a month. However, if you have an upgraded filter such as a HEPA filter, electrostatic filter, or UV filter, you do not have to change them as often. Sometimes these filters last six months to a year.

What Happens if You Do Not Change Your Filter?

When you leave your filter in for too long without changing it, it can wreak havoc on your system and your health. Dirty, clogged filters may cause the following issues:

  • Damage to your HVAC system – sometimes even system failure
  • Reduced lifespan of your system – reduced airflow in your system may force your system to work harder and wear out more quickly
  • Decreased efficiency of your system – Increased energy usage and higher energy bills due to your system working harder to keep your home cool/warm
  • Contaminants and particulates may accumulate in your ductwork
  • Poor indoor air quality – you may start breathing in the contaminants and particulates which are recirculating through your home and this may negatively affect your health

If you have questions about the role of your filter or would like to learn more about the various filtration options available, call us today!

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