Just as you rely on your air conditioner to keep your home cool in the summer, the system depends on you to function properly, and this is where air conditioner maintenance comes in.
Everyone in the heating and cooling business stresses the importance of regular maintenance and how it can improve a system’s efficiency and save money. However, unless you understand exactly how your air conditioning system works and why it needs attention now and then, chances are you will continue to neglect the unit’s maintenance.
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The air filter is vital to the proper functioning of your air conditioner. In addition, it’s one part that will need to be changed regularly. To understand its importance, you need to understand the basics of air conditioning and how the system works. That is where the following information should come in handy.
How Air Conditioners Work
The goal of an air conditioner is to:
- Maintain adequate air humidity
- Provide adequate ventilation continuously
- Free the air from dust, soot, microorganisms, and any foreign particles
- Provide cool indoor air during the hot seasons
The air conditioner blows cool air inside your home. To cool the air, it pulls the heat out of it and blows it over the evaporator coil, which is, in fact, a set of cold pipes. The process is similar to that of water evaporation on your skin.
The Evaporator Coil – The pipes of the evaporator coil are filled with refrigerant, a liquid that turns into gas while absorbing air heat. It is pumped to the outside unit of the air conditioning, to a second coil, where it releases heat and returns to its liquid form. This second coil, placed outdoors, is referred to as the condenser because it condenses the refrigerant, just like moisture condensates on cold surfaces.
Refrigerant – The refrigerant is moved between the evaporator and condenser coil with the help of a pump, also known as a compressor. The compressor also adjusts refrigerant pressure, ensuring that the evaporation and condensation of the refrigerant takes place in the dedicated coils.
The Air Conditioner Motor – The motor running the compressor uses the energy required for all these processes. Because of this, the air conditioning system typically gives about three times more cooling power than what the compressor uses. It happens because the refrigerant evaporation and condensation allow the system to move more energy than what the compressor can use.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how air conditioners work and their main components, let’s look at the air filters.
How Air Filters Work
Almost all air conditioners have an air filter located upstream of the evaporator coil. The filter is usually located in the duct system’s slots or the return grill and resembles a folded sheet of paper, looking quite fuzzy.
The purpose of the filter is to remove any particles in the air stream and thus keep both the system and the air indoors clean. As the air conditioner works, more and more particles load the filter. The capacity increases the efficiency of the filter, but reduces airflow and takes its toll on the air conditioner.
Air filters are designed to keep dust and dirt from circulating through the air inside your home. The two most common types of filters are those designed for furnace systems and those used in air conditioners. While the specific design of the filter may vary by manufacturer, most have similar components that enable them to collect dust, pollen, pet hair, and other particles from indoor air.
Do you understand the operating principles of an air filter? Air filters are composed of two layers that trap airborne pollutants. The first is a porous outer layer that contains fine-grained material called filtration medium. The second is a backing material made of paper, plastic, or metal mesh. Both layers are bonded together with adhesives creating a filter with millions of microscopic pores per square inch. These pores enable air to pass through the filter but trap larger particles, preventing them from circulating indoors.
The air-moving components in heating and cooling systems create suction on the side of the system opposite the filter. This creates an area of low pressure inside the ducts that draws air into the filter through its porous outer layer. The suction then pulls debris through the inner backing layer into the filtering medium. At this point, it is trapped between fibers until it gets removed by regular maintenance. Airflow exiting the system carries these larger particles away. If you let this dust and debris build-up for a long time, it can cause your system to malfunction or use more energy. So schedule regular AC maintenance to keep your unit in proper working order.
Why Air Conditioner Maintenance And Filter Changing Is Important
It is important that the air filters be replaced periodically. The frequency of the replacement is usually determined by the filter’s dimension and by the quality (cleanliness) of the air. Without timely filter changes, the airflow is reduced, and the system’s performance decreases.
Air conditioners can provide a great deal of comfort in your home, but they can also be costly. The two main reasons for this are the energy costs incurred from running them and the fact that they need to be serviced regularly to keep them running smoothly. In addition, if you don’t change your air conditioner filter regularly, you could be breathing in all manner of harmful particles.
Many people neglect their air conditioning systems because it seems like an unnecessary cost. However, doing so could cost you much more in the long run. It’s important to understand what proper maintenance entails. This way, you can start making it part of your routine.
How Dirty Filters Affect AC Performance
Filters need to be replaced on a regular basis to work correctly. They are definitely not the most fun chore. However, dirty filters can have a detrimental effect. They can prevent your air conditioner from cooling properly.
The main purpose of an air conditioning filter is to collect and remove airborne contaminants and pollutants from the conditioned indoor air. These contaminants can include dust and molds, pollen, bacteria, and viruses. All of these will negatively impact your overall indoor air quality and, in effect, the health of your family.
Changing the air conditioner filter once a month will keep your air conditioner running efficiently and help your family stay healthy. It’s an easy but often overlooked maintenance step. Altered air filters can increase your power bill by 30% or more. Over time, dirty filters can reduce the effectiveness of your air conditioning system by blocking airflow, which forces the unit to work harder to cool your home.
Thus, the device starts consuming more energy than it used to, and your energy bills rise. The whole system could be in danger, if measures to restore its proper functioning, like scheduling regular ac maintenance, are not taken. More than that, dirty filters can turn into a source of pollution themselves.
Having No Filter Can Lead To Expensive Repairs
Air filters are an important part of every HVAC system. Not only do they keep your air clean and free of irritants, but they also prevent costly damage to the unit itself.
If you’ve ever noticed that your air filter is missing or dirty, you might wonder what will happen if it stays that way for too long. Here’s a rundown of the negative effects of having no air filter in your HVAC system in the summer: Higher energy costs, allergies due to poor indoor air quality, and damage to your HVAC equipment.
It’s a little-known fact that most home air conditioning systems don’t come with filters installed. You have to buy them yourself. If you don’t, your AC will work overtime to circulate air throughout your house and, in the process, pull in dirt, pet hair, and other allergens from outside.
While removing the air filter may seem like a solution for reduced airflow, specialists warn that it would cause even more damage. The dirt and particles that would have been eliminated by the filter will accumulate on the evaporator coil and cause its failure, leading to much higher costs than a simple filter replacement.
Here are some problems you can encounter if you leave your air conditioner without a filter:
- More dust inside your home
- Damaged compressor
- Higher energy bills
- Reduced air quality
- Problems with your ductwork
- Problems with condensation drain
Thus, regular air filter changes are an excellent way to save money on electricity and reduce air conditioner repair costs, also ensuring cooler and cleaner air in your home.
Regular Maintenance Check-Ups Can Save You From Costly Future Repairs
Over time, your air conditioning system will become clogged with debris from the air if you don’t change out your filters. Having the air conditioner filter changed regularly can save you both time and money in the long run. An air conditioner filter is a simple yet effective way to improve the air quality inside your home. Plus, you can benefit from saving on your energy costs.
Another benefit of changing your air conditioner filter regularly is that it helps protect your heating and cooling system from dust and other particles that can collect in the unit. If these particles are not removed from your air conditioner, they could cause more severe problems down the road.
You need to ensure that your air quality remains high to help keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently. One main way to do this is to change the filter in your unit once every month during regular use. You shouldn’t be going for several months without changing or having it cleaned. However, if that should happen, then it’s time to call in an expert technician to do the job for you.
The air conditioning unit is one of the most expensive components in your heating and cooling system. So you need to be on top of this at all times to make sure your system is helping and not hurting you…
That is where routine air conditioner maintenance comes in, and homeowners have two options: replacing the filters themselves or turning to professional services. The replacement should be left to professionals because they can easily find matching filters at affordable prices and ensure faultless installation. While they’re changing the filter, they can also check and maintain the entire air system.
Another maintenance routine that should be scheduled periodically involves brushing off dirt and obstructions affecting the drains and the coils when the cooling season begins. Both methods are included in our regular maintenance packages, and provided by most HVAC companies. So it is all a matter of finding the right service provider.
At The Cooling Company, we have affordable air conditioner maintenance packages and a 24/7 emergency service in place. So you’ll receive not only efficient and affordable service but also peace of mind.
Call us now at (702) 567-0707 or schedule an inspection of your air conditioner and your worries related to its proper functioning or air filters performance will be history!