Can you imagine living in Florida without an air conditioning system in your house? You need to have cool air circulated around the rooms during most of the year, and even winters only give you a small break.
Because you run the central air conditioner in your house so frequently, there are some maintenance steps to remember. These aren’t as crucial in cooler parts of the country where air conditioners often go on vacation from October to May. But here in the Sunshine State, ACs need some special attention. In particular, they need to have regular filter changes throughout the year.
No, not air quality filters…
This is a point of confusion people often have when we talk about HVAC air filters. They assume this refers to filters designed to improve air quality in a house. You may already have these installed. If you don’t, we advise looking into getting them, since they can make your air cleaner and reduce allergy and asthma problems during the spring.
The filter we’re talking about in this post is the one that comes with the HVAC system. It’s usually attached to the side of the HVAC cabinet where the return air ducts connect with the blower unit, although sometimes it’s found behind the grill of the return air vent in the house. This filter isn’t in place to help with indoor air quality. It protects the interior of the HVAC system from dust and dirt coming in with the air from the house. Any layer of dust and other grime in the AC can harm motors and cause the evaporator coil to ice over.
This filter can clog up fast
The HVAC filter will soon collect enough dust, lint, etc. in it that it will start to block airflow. The more the AC and blower fan run, the quicker the build-up. To avoid problems from choked off airflow, the filter must be changed regularly for a clean one. We find that every 1 to 3 months is the most common frequency for filter changes, which also depends on filter strength.
If you aren’t sure how often you need to change your filter, make a visual check on it once a month. If it looks like the lint catcher in a dryer after running a load of wash, replace it. When you put in the new filter, write the date of the replacement in marker on the outside plastic edge. This way you’ll know when you last changed the filter and can set a regular schedule for the future. A good way to remember to change the filter is to attach it to another activity, such as paying a certain bill.
Leaving a clogged filter in place will have ugly consequences: higher electrical bills, tripped circuit breakers, lower airflow from the vents, hot spots in rooms, and dust and lint slipping around the filter and into the HVAC system.
If you need help or maintenance for your HVAC system, call the St Petersburg, FL, AC contractor who aims to surpass expectations on every job.
The A/C Guy of Tampa Bay Inc. serves our Tampa Bay family with integrity and honor. Call us for any assistance you need for your HVAC system this season.