Here's what homeowners need to know about the air filter in their home air conditioning system. Dirt build up is the culprit when it comes to reducing efficiency and causing premature HVAC system failure?
Like we talked about in previous blog articles, energy efficiency for home air conditioning systems is based on SEER rating; the higher the SEER number, the lower the energy consumption. But regardless of what SEER rating you think you might have, your system might not be performing at that level. Why? It's very simple: HVAC systems must have good, unrestricted volume of circulating air to be effective. If in any way the unit is starved of airflow, the unit's efficiency plunges.
Your system's air filter is such a simple, harmless looking device but wicked on energy consumption. Just being present in the system, the filter inherently blocks airflow up to 10-15% new. And that can rise to 50% and higher when loaded with debris. The same is true for dirty or improperly installed air ducts, registers and dirty evaporator coils.
The EPA has said that a 5% reduction in heating and air conditioning air flow can cause a rise in energy costs of 12%. A filter can restrict that amount of airflow easily.
If you think you have a SEER of 10, 11, or even 13, you might not be receiving that performance level. In many cases, it will be 2-5 points lower and you don't even know it.
Nine out of 10 systems fail due to dirt build up. (Louisiana Cooperative Ext. Serv. Study) Build up of dirt on the blower blades will reduce the airflow and cause it to use more electricity. Also, dirt build up on the evaporator coil will make your system work harder. (Some very good reasons to do regular maintenance)
The conclusion: neglecting your HVAC system filter can be a costly mistake. So don't forget to change the air filter regularly. You should check it monthly and replace or clean it when it's dirty. Every house is different based several factors.