Owning an HVAC system is a little bit like owning a pet lion—you’re probably rather impressed by it most of the time, but you could also be forgiven for being a little worried. Of course, your system isn’t likely to attack you if you neglect it, but that’s not to say it can’t turn on you in a certain sense.
HVAC systems that are ignored for too long can suffer from efficiency problems, wasting money each month and eventually require expensive repairs. The good news is that preventing these problems is easy when you take a few simple steps to keep your HVAC in good health. Even something as simple as using electrostatic filters in your air conditioner can make it easier to maintain consistently, ultimately providing you with much more cost-effective cooling in the long term.
You may not think about the filters that your air conditioner uses too often, but you should give them some serious attention if you want to keep your AC affordable. Many homeowners are shocked to learn just how many problems can arise from simple filter neglect. Because air conditioners are such complicated machines, people tend to jump to conclusions when problems occur and assume the causes must be rooted in their most elaborate components. In fact, this is rarely the case. Common neglect, wear and tear, and dirty filters are easily the top three causes of air conditioner problems in the United States.
How Important Are Your Filters?
For our purposes, we’ll focus on filters and what they can do for your air conditioner. Filters are some of the simpler components in your air conditioner, and as such, they are often neglected. However, your filters play one of the most important roles in your entire cooling system: they prevent dust and other buildup from entering your unit, where it can compromise your air quality and even create clogs that block circulation. Both these problems can have major consequences for your system overall. Poor air quality can cause indoor air pollution and discomfort for the inhabitants of your building, while blockages in the ductwork can force your system to work harder than it should to move air through your home. When your air conditioner works too hard, it uses power unnecessarily, driving up your monthly utility bills. It can also cause other vital components to wear out and fail prematurely, such as your compressor—which can cost more than $1350 to replace.
How Do You Take Care of Your Filters?
Filters are incredibly important for the health of your air conditioner, so it’s lucky that they’re also easy to replace. To prevent either of the problems mentioned above from occurring, most HVAC owners simply replace their dirty filters with new ones each month. However, it can be difficult to put yourself in the habit of putting in new filters every month, especially if you haven’t thought ahead and purchased the replacement filters ahead of time. Buying new filters and disposing of the old ones constantly can also take a toll on the environment by creating more waste. Electrostatic filters address some of these concerns, making it easier for many homeowners to meet their air conditioning responsibilities.
What do Electrostatic Filters Do?
Electrostatic filters are made of cotton fibers that carry a charge in much the same way that clothing does when it is full of static electricity. This charge attracts particles and traps them in the filter so that they cannot enter the air conditioning system and wreak havoc. Like conventional filters, they have different MERV ratings, on a scale from 1 to 3. Higher numbers represent an ability to trap larger particles, such as dust and pollen, whereas a lower number indicates an ability to trap smaller ones such as bacteria.
Should You Buy Electrostatic Filters?
The main advantage is that their fibers are self-charging. Because of this, electrostatic filters are reusable. Instead of buying new filters each month, you can simply remove an electrostatic filter, wash it, and put it back in your unit. The ability to reuse an electrostatic filter makes it more sustainable and cost-effective overall, although you will likely pay a higher price for an electrostatic filter up front.
At this point, conventional filters still offer some advantages to certain homeowners. For one thing, they come in a greater range of MERV ratings, with some high-efficiency filters going up to 12 or 14 and offering effective protection for users with allergies or asthma. They also have a lower up-front price point. What you choose will ultimately come down to how sensitive the people in your building are, and whether you prefer short or long term savings. In either case, you should supplement your filter use with regular duct cleanings carried out by a licensed HVAC technician.
Electrostatic filters represent an exciting development in air conditioning technology and offer advantages to some homeowners. Consider the information listed above, and make an informed choice about the filters you purchase.
Please call us immediately if you have any type of problem with your HVAC system that you are not comfortable addressing. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so rely on your Valley Comfort Heating and Air HVAC professionals (707) 800-6287