HVAC Filters Getting Dirty Too Fast? Here’s Why and What to Do

Dirty Furnace Filter in Spring, TX

Do you have filthy filters that need to be changed more often than you think necessary? There may be a problem with your HVAC system. Fortunately, the experts at North Point Air Conditioning & Heating in Spring, TX, are here to help. We offer professional maintenance and repair services to keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently.

How HVAC Filters Work

The primary function of HVAC filters is to prevent debris from getting into the internal components of your heating and cooling equipment. However, they do play a role in the indoor air quality of your home. Any particles that make it through an air filter may travel through your HVAC unit and continue on via ducts that lead to the vents in each room of your home. In an effort to improve indoor air quality, manufacturers produce several styles of filters, such as fiberglass, pleated, and electrostatic types.

Airborne Particles

Airborne particles can enter your home through openings around windows and doors. If you have a particularly drafty house, there may be a high level of pollutants traveling through your HVAC system and clogging your filters. The experts at North Point Air Conditioning & Heating can perform an evaluation to locate areas where the air is entering your home.

Unseasonably Warm or Cold Temperatures

Did you know that the weather affects the efficiency of your heating and cooling system? If it is unseasonably warm or cold outside, your HVAC equipment works harder to keep your home comfortable. The equipment runs more often, and this increases the volume of air going through your filters. During these peak use times, it is normal for filters to need changing more often and usually does not indicate a HVAC issue.

Damaged Ducts

Heated and cooled air is moved through your home in a series of metal tunnels. The tunnels have junctions that are held together with hardware and sometimes sealed with tape. Over time, the connections or the sealing tape may come loose, and dirt and debris may enter the ductwork system through the openings in areas like the attic. These particles get recirculated through your system, and your HVAC filters end up getting clogged and need to be changed. It is recommended that you have your ductwork professionally cleaned every two years. This will not only increase the quality of the air in your home but also reduce the frequency of air filters needing to be changed out.

High-Quality Filters

High-quality filters cost more, but they may be necessary if a family member has respiratory issues. They filter more of the particulates out of the air in your home and may reduce symptoms associated with allergies or asthma. Because they catch a larger volume of debris and smaller particles than lower-quality filters, they may need to be changed more often than low-quality filters. This is normal and probably does not indicate a problem with your HVAC system.

Types of Filters for HVAC Systems

HEPA filters are the most effective style and trap more than 99% of airborne particulates, including viruses, pet dander, and mold spores. They are commonly used in hospitals. For homeowners who have family members with respiratory issues, this may be a good option. Fiberglass filters are typically the style of choice for budget-conscious homeowners. The downside is that these filters do not trap small particulates. Some pleated filters can be reused, which makes them another preferred choice for frugal homeowners. Electrostatic filters may be best for reducing allergies.

Schedule a Maintenance Appointment

If you are changing your filters more often than what is recommended by the manufacturer, schedule an HVAC appointment with one of our technicians. We will perform a whole-house evaluation to determine the source of the problem.

Contact the Professionals

At North Point Air Conditioning & Heating, we have decades of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining heating and cooling systems in Spring, TX, and the surrounding areas. We also provide indoor air quality, insulation, and smart thermostat services.

If your filters are getting dirty too fast, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a technician from North Point Air Conditioning & Heating in Spring, TX. We will work with you to determine the cause of the issue and can offer recommendations for what type of air filter to use with your HVAC equipment.

Maintenance for Your AC for the End of Summer

AC Maintenance in Spring, TX

It seems like you just got to really enjoy the summer and the warm weather, and now fall is rapidly approaching again. As you wrap up the season, you’re certainly working on preparing your home for the coming winter. Here are some critical maintenance tips to ensure your system is ready to wind down the season.

Clear Around Your Condensing Unit

The condensing unit transfers heat the refrigerant absorbed from inside to the air outside by drawing air in from around it. It is common for debris to collect around the condensing unit and inhibit airflow into the system.

Clear out any grass or weeds that have grown up, along with any clippings that may have gotten caught. Additionally, trim back any brush, branches, or shrubs to give at least a 12-inch clearance around the unit.

Check for Storm Damage

Storms commonly cause some minor cosmetic damage to the condensing unit housing. However, what you want to look for is more significant damage that indicates possible internal problems.

First, inspect the housing for major dents or cracks. These likely indicate a significant enough impact to cause the damage, which likely has jarred the components inside.

While you’re inspecting your unit, look at the fins on the condensing coil if you can see them without disassembling anything. Flying debris can damage these fins, causing them to bend and causing an airflow restriction.

Change Your Filter

Your system must circulate air inside, regardless of whether you’re using your air conditioner or your heating. If your air filter is too dirty, the system cannot draw enough air through it. Plan to change it if you haven’t changed your filter recently.

The average 1-inch filter needs replacing about every 90 days. If it’s been changed recently, pull it out and inspect it to make sure it can still pass air. Consider vacuuming off the intake side, which is the dirty side, to help extend its useful life.

Test the System’s Temperature

You should check the temperature of the air coming from your vents occasionally. Initially, you can simply feel the temperature with your bare hand or foot. If the air doesn’t feel cold, then you may want to go to a more accurate method of checking.

The air coming from your vents should be between 15 and 20 degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature. It is easy enough to check this with a meat thermometer. Start by allowing the thermometer to acclimate to the air temperature and record it.

Next, carefully insert the probe end into an output vent and give it a minute or two to acclimate. Then record the temperature and confirm it is at least 15 degrees different. A smaller differential likely indicates either low refrigerant or a dirty evaporator coil.

Check Your Air Output

In addition to the temperature, be sure to check the amount of air output. Simply use your bare hand or foot to feel the air coming out. You should feel significant air movement while your system runs.

If the air movement is barely perceptible, you likely have an airflow restriction of some form. Something simple like a dirty air filter could be the cause. It may also be a little more involved, like a dirty circulating fan or evaporator coil.

Whatever the underlying cause, you’ll want to find the problem and resolve it quickly. This will not only affect your AC through the rest of the season but also the efficiency of your heating.

Get Your Maintenance Up-to-Date

Your system requires routine maintenance to continue functioning well. If you skipped the maintenance in the spring, now is a great time to ensure your system continues operating efficiently. You also want to make sure you keep your manufacture’s warranty valid, which often requires maintenance.

Maintenance now will ensure better efficiency for the remainder of the hot weather. Additionally, it will also uncover any minor problems that could lead to major repairs later if left unresolved.

A major problem with HVAC repairs is they are often a surprise, leaving you stressed about the cost. Finding out now gives you some extra time to plan for the repair before depending on your system next summer.

People around Spring have trusted North Point Air Conditioning & Heating to keep their families safe from extreme temperatures since 1977. Our customers depend on our expert technicians for heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repair. Call to schedule your routine air conditioning maintenance with one of the area’s most talented technicians today.