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Is the Filter in My AC Enough for Cleaning the Air?

air-fliter-cuIf you’re asking this question, you already know that your central air conditioning system has an air filter. We hope you also know that this filter must be changed routinely so it won’t become excessively clogged. We recommend changing the filter for a clean one every one to three months to prevent the blower in the HVAC system from straining too hard and wasting energy.

To answer the actual question: No, the filter is not enough for cleaning your household air—because that isn’t its actual job.

Then What Is the Filter There to Do?

This filter on the HVAC cabinet is to protect the interior of the air conditioning system (and the furnace as well, if you have the standard set-up of a furnace and AC in a single HVAC cabinet). The filter is located between the return air ducts and blower that draws in air and sends it through the air conditioner. The filter’s job is to trap particles coming through the return air vents, such as lint, dander, and dust. If these particles get into the air conditioner, they can damage motors and cut down on how effective the evaporator coil is.

The filter does take out some particles from circulating through the rest of the ventilation system, but it’s minimal and won’t make improvements to indoor air quality that’s low because of excessive pollutants—especially since many of these pollutants pass right through the simple air filter.

What Can I Do to Clean the Air?

There are several options to improve your indoor air quality. Since we’re already talking about the HVAC air filter, we’ll first mention that there are special filtration systems using air filters that can help clean the air. These are dedicated filters integrated into the ventilation system that are specifically designed to trap the pollutants that lower IAQ in a home.

You must speak to professionals about installing an air filtration system, since attempting to do this as a DIY project has a high likelihood of trapping you with filters of the wrong strength. Yes, you can pick a filter that is too strong. The tighter the weave on a filter, the smaller contaminants it can trap—even down to viruses and bacteria. But a tight weave also restricts airflow, and residential HVAC systems can easily become overwhelmed and suffer damage because of increased air pressure in the ducts. (Plus, air won’t reach the rooms!) Professionals can find the right match of filter strength that will remove contaminants without creating trouble for the HVAC system.

But what if there are still small airborne pollutants causing trouble in the house that can get through those filters? This is where IAQ experts pair a filtration system with an electronic purification system. Electronic air purifiers (air cleaners) don’t filter pollutants, but instead, use ionization and oxidization to remove them from the air. The right combo of filters and purifiers can remove more than 98% of unwanted pollutants.

For air filtration and air purification service in Oxford, OH, our HVAC service professionals are glad to help you find the solutions that match your household needs and your AC and heating equipment.

Look to Bartels Heating & Cooling “For a Comfortable Way of Life!”

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