If your home has a cooling system that shares an air handler with your furnace, your HVAC system’s air handler has a filter to clean the air before it enters your system. In other words, your furnace filter is the same thing as your air handler filter.

Your air handler filter is basically the first line of defense for your HVAC system. Whenever your HVAC blower fan runs, the air is drawn through the filter, and any particles get trapped and left behind. If you don’t regularly replace or wash your filter, it will quickly become clogged and restrict the amount of air flowing into your system.

With that in mind, here is a handy guide to changing your air handler filter and why it is so important.

Inspecting and Replacing Your Air Handler Filter

You should always check the condition of your air handler filter at least once every week or two, and you must do this throughout the year. Whenever the filter looks dirty or is covered with a thick layer of debris, you should immediately replace it. If you use washable filters, you must wash them fully and let them dry whenever it is dirty.

The general rule of thumb is that your air handler filter should be replaced or washed at least once every three months. During the middle of summer or winter, when your AC or furnace runs for most of the day, you may want to change the filter monthly.

Issues That Can Result From a Dirty Air Handler Filter

Furnace filters are designed to prevent most larger airborne particles from passing through. This means that it will continue to trap dust and airborne particles even if it is filthy and clogged. That being said, a clogged filter can create major issues for your heating and cooling systems.

When airflow is restricted due to a clogged filter, it forces your HVAC system to work much harder. It also drastically reduces the effectiveness of your heating or air conditioning since very little air can enter the furnace or AC air handler. This means that your furnace or AC will need to run much longer to heat or cool your home properly. As a result, there will be much more wear and tear on your HVAC components, and your energy bills will be much higher.

A clogged air filter can also cause your AC system to freeze up. When this happens, the AC compressor motor can potentially burn out if you don’t shut the system off and wait for it to thaw out.

An even bigger issue can occur when you run your furnace with a clogged filter. When this happens, it can allow a huge amount of heat to build up inside the furnace, and this has the potential to crack the unit’s heat exchanger. Should this happen, your only option may be to replace the furnace. A cracked heat exchanger can also allow carbon monoxide to flow out of the furnace and into your home.

The Importance of HVAC Maintenance

Changing the filter is one of the most important parts of routine HVAC maintenance and something that you can easily do on your own in just a few seconds. However, simply changing your filter isn’t enough to protect your heating and cooling system from damage. Even if you regularly change your filter, some dirt and dust will always get inside the system.

If you don’t have your furnace, blower fan, and other components professionally cleaned and inspected at least once a year, the system’s performance will suffer, and your energy bills will increase. Neglecting furnace and AC maintenance also means that the units will likely need far more repairs and not last nearly as long as they should. It is recommended to have your air conditioning system professionally maintained every spring and your heating system maintained each fall.

Frederick’s HVAC Maintenance Experts

At Markool Heating & Cooling, we specialize in heating and cooling maintenance and will work to ensure that your systems are functioning optimally and free of any potential issues. We maintain and repair all brands of residential and commercial HVAC units, and we service furnaces, air conditioners, boilers, ductless mini-splits, and radiant heating.

When it’s time to replace your air conditioner or service your furnace, were the team to contact. Our team also installs and services indoor air quality equipment, including UV lights, air scrubbers, air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and mechanical ventilation systems. If you need any HVAC service in Frederick or the surrounding areas, contact Markool Heating & Cooling today.

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