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Why Does My Filter Get Dirty So Quickly?

If you own a home, you should know how important it is to regularly check and replace the air filter in your heating and air conditioning system. While you may have a “schedule” for doing so, what you may not realize is that you might actually have to change your filter sooner than your schedule dictates. Why is this? What’s causing your filter to get dirty so quickly? And even worse, is this indicative of a problem with my heater or air conditioner? Our latest blog has some answers to both of these questions.

Why So Dirty?

So what’s causing your air filter to get so dirty so quickly? The most common reason is an increased load of contaminants in the air in your home. Here are just a few of the most frequently-seen filter-clogging particles you’ll find floating in the air in your home:

  • Pet hair: cats and dogs both shed hair (yes, even hypo-allergenic breeds will leave hair lying around sometimes) and that hair can find its way into your air filter on the whims of air currents in your home. This problem grows exponentially with the number of pets you have.
  • Constantly-running fan: When the fan is set to “auto,” it only turns on when your system is actively running. When it’s set to “on,” the fan could be running even when your system is not actively heating or cooling your home. A fan that is running is pulling air through your filter, which means your filter will continually pull debris from the air, and get dirty quicker.
  • Dusty conditions: homes that have to deal with a high level of dust, such as those living near a construction project or in a high-wind area, will no doubt see their filters get dirty faster than those in lower-wind areas. Also, the more you clean your home from dust, the less often that dust will find its way into your filter.

Do I Have the Right Filter?

There’s another factor that most people don’t think about when it comes to their filter: am I using the right one? Each filter is given a MERV rating, which essentially tells you how much in terms of dust and contaminants it removes from the air and likewise how much air it actually allows through. Higher MERV ratings mean better filtration, but that also means they fill up faster. Another downside to these filters is that they actually place more strain on your fan and blower motors because they can’t pull the air they need through the filter at a rate that allows them to work properly.

Those who suffer from severe and sensitive allergies may want to consider using one of these higher MERV-rated filters, but odds are you don’t need a filter that would be rated for use in a hospital clean room. Not only will you be damaging your system, but you’ll probably be wasting money on these filters because of how much they cost. Instead, make sure you’re using a filter with the proper MERV rating and you’ll have to deal with changing your filter less, plus you’ll probably notice your system starts working better than it did before.

Does your air conditioner or heater need a tune-up service? A Palm Beach County heating and air conditioning expert can help! Call Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC today to schedule your annual maintenance appointment!
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