Air conditioning is an integral part of many modern homes and air filters are important to the smooth and proper functioning of the air conditioning system. Air conditioning filters are needed because they keep dust out of the home and provide clean, cool air. According to James L. Kittle in Home Heating and Air Conditioning Systems, “The air conditioning coil is designed with closely spaced fins that are pressed on the actual refrigerant tubes. These fins collect a lot of dust and dirt.” An air conditioner’s filter is what prevents dust and grime from building up on these coils, besides improving indoor air quality as well. Filters come in a variety of sizes and can be either permanent or washable.
Old and dirty air filters in an air conditioner will have a negative impact on the performance of the system, causing it to cool ineffectively and affect the quality of air inside the room or house. This will put people with asthma and allergies at greater risk, as well as waste energy and money.
Here is more information on how cleaning air conditioning filters can benefit the environment and one’s health while saving money, time, cost and effort as well as guidelines on how to clean an air conditioning filter.
Benefits for the Environment
Dirty and clogged air conditioning filters lower the energy efficiency of an air conditioner. The energy that is thus wasted will pollute the environment and add to the greenhouse gas emissions, further compounding the problem of global warming. Moreover, clogged air filters will cause the unit to pull more energy while delivering less cooling. This imbalance will have a negative effect on the overall environment. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, cleaning the air filters on a monthly basis will help to increase the energy efficiency of a room air conditioner.
Benefits for Your Wallet
According to the California Energy Commission’s Consumer Energy Center, “The average home spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs.” Cleaning the air conditioning filters regularly will not only improve energy efficiency but also speed up the cooling process and therefore, reduce the need to have the air conditioner on for long periods of time. This would help in reducing the power bill and enable homeowners to save on power and maintenance of the air conditioner as well. According to the Consumer Energy Center, clean air conditioner filters can help save 1-2 percent of energy costs.
Benefits for Your Health
Clean air conditioning filters translate into cleaner indoor air and reduces the incidence and occurrence of lung and breathing disorders, such as asthma, allergies and related diseases. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Indoor air quality plays a major role in your respiratory health”. The Center also states that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regards indoor air pollution to be one of the five most urgent environmental problems in the US. Keeping air conditioner filters clean and dust-free will help improve the indoor air quality and keep the home allergen-free.
Low Cost, Time and Effort
Cleaning air conditioner filters may seem like a complicated and time-consuming task, however it isn’t difficult at all. Cleaning the filter will hardly take ten minutes at the most. One can choose between disposable and permanent filters and perform quick and east steps to maintain them. Buy disposable filters in bulk to save time, cost and effort and simply replace them every month. Permanent filters can easily be washed regularly and reused. In either case, the time, cost and effort involved is minimal and is easily compensated by health benefits and energy savings.
How to Change Your Air Conditioning Filter
Cleaning the air conditioning filter can easily be done at home and all one needs is a broom or vacuum, a hose attached to a water tap and if required, a replacement filter. Homeowners should determine the type of air conditioning system being used – furnace or forced air. In the former, the filter is directly attached to the air conditioning unit while in the latter the filter will be over a vent. Turn off the system before touching any part of the filter. Clean the area near the filter with the broom or vacuum. Next, remove the panel door by sliding or popping it open. Remove the filter from the air conditioning unit. For washable or permanent filters, simply take the filter to where the hose is and spray it thoroughly to wash off dirt and dust. Disposable filters will need to be bought from the hardware store after being carefully measured for size (length and width). Replace the clean and dry or new disposable filter ensuring that the guide arrows line up properly.