Like most HVAC technicians we recommend changing your furnace and air conditioner air filter every month or two. By name alone we all understand that this is important in order to keep the air in our homes clean, but that’s only part of the reason why you should change it often. Changing your air conditioner air filter is also especially important to avoid damage to your air conditioner.
Essentially, your air conditioner air filter is there to prevent damage, but if you’ve put the wrong one you can do more harm than good, and here’s how.
How Your Air Conditioner Air Filter Protects Your System
Primarily your air filter does in fact filter the air, which leads to cleaner air in your home. There are fewer allergens and dust and the air is generally fresher. The intention of an air filter is to avoid having anything large sucked into the blower, which can lead to damage that is expensive to repair. Without an air conditioner air filter, your blower can build up with dust and other large debris and ultimately breakdown.
The competing factor with ensuring cleanliness of air and keeping dirt and debris out is air flow. Allowing air to move through your system is important for efficiency and reducing wear and tear on your system. If your air filter is too dirty it reduces air flow, which means your blower has to work harder to move air around your home. This creates unnecessary stress on your blower, reduces the air quality, and makes your system work harder, which in turn uses more energy and costs you money.
Upgrading Your Air Filter
Dirty air filters that are the wrong size and rating for your furnace can do just as much damage as a dirty one. the extra fibers that rap particles and allergens in your super expensive air filter might do just that, but they also drastically impede air flow. These fibers are incredibly tightly woven, which means your air will be a little cleaner, but your unit will work much harder to move air.
The MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of your air filter is a good indicator of how well it filters. Most air conditioners come with a filter of about 1-4 MERV, but may be able to hold a filter of up to MERV 8. However, if the filter is too strong, you put your air conditioner at risk.