A clean air filter is one of the most important components of an efficient HVAC system. It is always a good idea to switch out your filter at the start of a new season to keep those old contaminants from circulating throughout your home. However, if you need to replace yours more often than recommended, you could have an indoor air quality issue. If you leave a clogged filter in place for too long, it puts a strain on your system, skyrocketing your energy costs and causing internal HVAC damage. Keep reading to learn a few reasons why your HVAC air filter may be getting dirty too fast.
You’re Using Subpar Filters
The low-quality fiberglass filters commonly found at your local supermarket are only viable for about a month. These filters don’t have a lot of surface area and quickly fill up with large particulates, like hair and dust. The lower the MERV rating on your filter, the more debris it will let pass into your ductwork.
To ensure your filter lasts as long as possible, invest in a pleated, washable, or electrostatic filter type. Always choose filters that fit your HVAC system instead of generic options that may not be the best match. Avoid waiting until your filter fills up to purchase your next one. Instead, order in bulk or sign up for a subscription service that delivers high-quality air filters directly to your doorstep throughout the year.
You Own Pets
All furry pets potentially carry allergens. Pets that go outside, like dogs and cats, can also bring in dirt and debris. They shed these contaminants on your rugs, carpets, furniture, and other textiles. When your HVAC system turns on, your filter traps these particles. Larger particles, such as pet hair, tend to fill your filter faster. Owning several pets could decrease your three-month filter’s lifespan to as little as one month.
Minimize your pets’ impact on your filter by routinely brushing their fur outside. As you do this, keep the loose hair away from your external AC unit to prevent it from impeding airflow. Giving your pet baths frequently can also help to reduce foreign particulates. Regular vacuuming and cleaning are also often necessary to stop the dander and hair from traveling into your ductwork and HVAC system.
The Weather Has Been More Extreme
When the weather is unexpectedly much warmer or colder than normal, your filter usage could be out of your control. Whenever your HVAC system turns on, it pulls air through the filter. The more often you need to use your heating and cooling system, the more frequently your filter is used. Abnormally high or low temperatures mean your HVAC system may cycle several times an hour to keep your home comfortable.
You can lower your filter usage by setting your thermostat at a moderate temperature. If your furnace is short cycling or running for abnormally long periods, call an HVAC maintenance professional to find the source of the issue.
Fan Mode is “On”
The “fan on” mode on your thermostat keeps your HVAC fan running continuously. This setting can make it feel like cool air is constantly coming out of your vents. While this mode helps with ventilation, it is not ideal in the winter when you are trying to maximize heat.
Many homeowners use the “on” mode in the spring or fall when their windows are open. This mode can filter the air entering the home, protecting your household from allergens like pollen and dust. However, keeping this setting on continuously will increase your energy costs and fill up your filters at a faster rate. To prevent this, set your thermostat to “auto” mode, as it only turns on the HVAC system’s fan when you need heating or cooling.
You Have Low Air Quality
Low indoor air quality means your home has high levels of harmful pollutants circulating inside. You and your family may be breathing in dust, chemicals, spores, mites, or fumes. Homes have much lower air quality ratings than outdoor environments when they don’t have proper ventilation. It is also possible your household’s daily habits, such as the chemicals you use or your cleaning habits, may impact your air quality.
Determine if poor air quality is contributing to clogged air filters by scheduling an indoor air quality test. Our technicians can pinpoint whether you have a gas leak, mold issue, or another contaminant problem. Do-it-yourself home tests are available but do not always offer dependable results.
Soot Is Present
Soot is a black, powdery substance created by the incomplete combustion of things like wood, oil, or coal. You can often find it around your fireplace or the rims of your candles. Soot can also originate from a wood-burning stove or a malfunctioning furnace. This powder can quickly discolor and fill your air filters over time. There is even a chance your frequent candle use could be impacting your air quality and clogging your filters. Be sure to properly ventilate the room and trim candle wicks to minimize the length and impact of the flame.
You Have Leaky Air Ducts
Older ductwork systems with tears and holes can pull air from uninsulated areas of your home, such as the attic. When this happens, it introduces contaminants like pests, insulation particles, and old dust into circulation. On top of clogging your filters, dirty air can worsen your allergies and cause sinus inflammation. Signs you may have outdated or compromised ductwork include higher energy bills, debris around your vents, and new whistling or whooshing sounds.
Tips to Maximize Filter Lifespan
You can substantially extend your air filter’s lifespan by improving household routines and scheduling regular HVAC tune-ups. Try not to smoke indoors or open your windows when your local air quality index is low. If you persistently struggle with air quality issues, install a new air purifier or dehumidifier. When you invest in a whole-home system, you will have fresher air free of pollutants, no matter the season.
Schedule an HVAC tune-up at least once a year. During these service calls, our technicians will clean out any grime inside your furnace, air conditioner, or mini-split system. Working with certified HVAC professionals is an efficient, cost-effective way to improve your indoor air quality and filter efficiency.
Las Vegas HVAC Experts
At BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair, we are proud to deliver superior heating, cooling, and plumbing services in Las Vegas, NV. Our NATE-certified technicians have been installing energy-efficient systems and boosting indoor comfort since 2016. We are BBB-accredited and have an EPA certification. Rely on us to repair, maintain, or replace your HVAC system. If you have concerns about your air quality, we can test your interior air and provide duct sealing services. In addition, keep us in mind if you need drain cleaning services or a water heater replacement. Call BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair now to schedule your appointment in Las Vegas or the surrounding communities.