Why does your HVAC filter clog so fast?

Regular filter replacement is one of the necessary requirements for maintaining your air conditioning system. But sometimes, it isn’t just enough to change the cartridges on time to make sure your device works without interruptions. The existing instructions are given for standard cases; however, as the practice shows, exploitation conditions may vary widely. The Best Heating Cooling & Air Company in Castle Rock is a contractor capable of solving any problems with climatic equipment. We promptly eliminate the malfunctions and tell our clients how they should correctly take care of their air conditioner given the nuances, which are not told in the instructions.

Why would your filter clog prematurely?

Air conditioner manufacturers usually recommend changing filtering devices once every 4-6 months, before the season starts. But they forget to clarify that those recommendations are only true for premises located in areas with relatively clean air. These are mostly households, located away from highways and industrial facilities, with no children, allergic people, and pets. But there are not so many “exemplary” homes out there. Most homeowners have to correct the standard schedule of air purification system maintenance since a number of factors contribute to its increased workload:

  • the location of an air inlet: if air from the street gets inside the house from the backyard, it would be perfectly enough to change the filter once every 3-4 months; if the intake is done from the highway’s side or there is an active industrial facility located around — the filter should be changed every 60 days
  • the density of population: if there are people living in the house 24/7, filtering devices are renewed not less frequently than once every 90 days; in the buildings, which are periodically empty, one could limit self to the annual change of cartridges
  • level of dustiness: if you hate doing the house cleaning as necessary, then you should be ready to change the air filters 2-3 times more often than usual; if you see that after you make wet cleaning, there is no less dust inside the rooms, then you should check air exhaust
  • the regimen of work of a fan. If a fan is always on, its cartridge is filled with litter faster; when you turn on the Auto mode, you prolong its life term but this trick won’t work if there are any microclimate problems — if the levels of temperature and humidity are too high, the fan might work nearly non-stop
  • if there are any pets in the house, the filters are clogged with their hair faster. If you have only one pet, the filter change is necessary once per 2 months; if you have several pets, the change should be done once per 20-30 days; in those premises with no dogs or cats, the filters last at least 3 months
  • allergies and respiratory diseases. When any family member has increased sensitivity to air pollution, the cartridge is changed once every 1-1.5 months
  • business specifics. Commercial premises have additional factors of air pollution — for instance, in the carpentry workshop, air filters are clogged with sawdust and fine chips; in a barbershop, they are clogged with hair
  • seasonal factors. Air filters would faster clog in the periods of plant blossoming when it happens because of the pollen and down.

What filters are more long-lasting?

The design of a filtrating device also affects the exploitation term; costlier and more advanced options with an increased filtrating area capture more litter particles and have a longer life span. MERV is the indicator of the effectiveness of catching the dust particles of 3-10 microns in size when they get through the filter’s sieve as part of air masses. The higher the MERV is, the better air purification quality is.

Cheap filters made of fiberglass with low MERV indicator let through fine dust and are clogged not so often as corrugated filters of fine purification. On the other hand, however, a corrugated filter makes the fan work harder, which contributes to its premature wearing out.

Electrostatic filtering devices are designed for 120-180 days of service. Carbon, catechin, and photocatalytic models are designed (given the favorable conditions) to last for 3-5 years. Some air conditioners have the function of washing the filters of an inner block, which prolongs their life span for up to 2-3 more years.

How can you prolong the service term of a filter?

To prolong the service term of your filtering device, it is advisable to check it every 2-3 weeks, especially if you notice your system works slower than usual or the level of condensate has dramatically increased. Some air conditioner models signal you about the filter clogging by indicator flashing or via a sound alarm. A clogged filter can be reused after vacuum cleaning — large particles are removed from the sieve in that way.

If filters get clogged in less than 2 weeks, you must do a complex diagnostics of your HVAC system and take air sampling and analysis — it is quite possible that your HVAC device requires repair. In some cases, it is recommended to install professional equipment for air purification in addition to the standard climate control system. In fact, such a necessity might occur not so rarely:

  • a building is located in an industrial area or close to a busy highway
  • some serious mistakes were made at the stage of design of the ventilation system
  • the family living in a house has allergic people and those with respiratory issues and ailments
  • there are many people who live in a single house
  • you have a lot of pets
  • toxic substances in the air are contained in volumes, which are significantly higher than the norm.

The BHCAir Company is a NATE certified contractor with a large experience in the maintenance and repair of air conditioning systems in various premises, living and commercial. Contact us if you have any issues with your microclimate and air pollution: we can find out the reason for frequent clogs and take measures to prevent them in the future!

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