Do I REALLY Need to Change My Filters?
There’s something that is often overlooked about winter preparation. Most people remember to turn off their air conditioner, shut off it’s power, clean them up, and put covers over their condensers and outdoor equipment. How many of you remembered to change your air filters before winter?
We have a couple of good reasons to replace every filter. Changing out filters ensures clean air, it prevents allergens and diseases from spreading, and it makes your office a better, healthier place. It’s just a matter of getting someone to actually change the filter. We’ve found that filters are one of the most overlooked parts of HVAC Maintenance. They are tended to only after they’ve clogged an air vent or they’ve caused the CEO to have a day of sneezing due to allergens. Your switch over from cooling to heating is the perfect opportunity to check on those gross, old air filters and replace them.
This is also the time when such a check up is a necessity. Depending on your exact configuration, there may be filters in the heating system that haven’t be changed since the spring, such as the furnace intake filter. A dirty intake is going to cost you fuel and early hardware failure in the furnace itself. The filters for your AC System may sit dormant all winter long if you have centralized cooling and a hot water heating system; in which case it’s better to get them out now before they’ve mold-rotted to their ducts.
Not to mention, mold will have an easier time spreading once the AC is off. Your air conditioner is a giant dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air. Bacteria needs moisture to live. Your heating system on the other hand, is only going to make the air more capable of retaining moisture. If you have dirty, moldy filters already, the switch from cooling to heating is going to be a boon to the single celled monsters already in your system.
Finally, you need to think about the big, financial picture. Dirty filters are inefficient. Every old, worn out filter you have is gonna cost you money to keep around. The more clogged up a system becomes, the less capable it is of pushing out heat. The less capable it is, the harder it has to work. The harder it works, the more fuel it has to burn. Given the rising costs of fossil fuels, the impact of dirty filters can be visible on your fuel bill, eating up your supply days or weeks sooner than a clean system would.
Filters are luckily one of the easiest things to replace in an HVAC System. If you run a small business and don’t have a dedicated Maintenance crew to manage all the repairs and daily upkeep, you and your existing staff can easily take care of filter replacements. The exact “how” is going to vary by hardware manufacturer. Generally speaking, filters are simply held in by a cover. You remove the cover, pull the filter out, slide the new one in with it’s air-flow marker facing the correct direction, and put the cover back on.
Filters have to be changed often, so their replacement procedures are almost always going to be straight forward. Always consult your manufacturer’s manual to confirm the exact procedure and parts before ordering your new filters and before replacing them.