Do I Really Need to Change My Air Filter?

Yes. Next question? Okay, seriously… To some of you this may seem like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, we here at GAMA Air have seen too many situations in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area proving that not everyone understands that this is important. Maybe you are one of those people? Do you feel that unscrupulous service companies exaggerate their importance to try to squeeze more money out of their customers? Let’s put those concerns to rest right now.

Here’s the worst-case, but realistic, scenario: Not changing an air filter will almost certainly kill the compressor in your air conditioner. That’s the most difficult and expensive repair possible on central cooling unit. So, to answer the question: “Do I really need to change my air filter?”, Yes! You really do.

Admittedly, there are some types of air filters that can be expensive. But those filters fall into a different category, namely improving indoor air quality. When we are talking about protecting your central cooling system, you must have some type of air filter, and it must be changed regularly. Still not convinced? Let us explain a little more about When’s and Why’s of changing your air filter.

When is it important to change your air filter?

The frequency you change it depends on several factors. Since the air filter only gets dirty when your system is running, the more it runs (in extreme hot or cold weather) the faster it will get dirty and need to be changed. But here are some other factors to consider:

  • More people generate more dust and lint that the filter catches. So the more people that are in your home, the more often you should change the filter.
  • Pet hair, fur, and dander will also end up in the filter. More pets, means changing the filter more often.
  • Smoking in the house adds to the particles that can quickly fill an air filter.
  • Some filters are made from materials that can go longer between changes.

As you can see, there is no correct frequency of changing an air filter that works for everyone. Here is suggestion to help you decide what is best for your situation.

  • Put in a clean air filter and mark your calendar for 30 days out.
  • On the 30th day, pull out the filter and hold it beside the clean filter that you have standing by.
  • If you don’t notice any difference, then check again in 2 weeks. If they look different then it is time to change the air filter. Over time you will notice a pattern of how often your filter needs to be replaced depending on the time of year.
  • Keep in mind that the air filter traps more than ‘dirty’ dust, so even if it looks only slightly dirty it could be filled up.

Washable air filters should be washed monthly, or according to the instructions you received when you purchased the filter. Not following the instructions could result in damaging the filter, or making it less effective.

At the very least you should replace the air filter twice a year: at the start of the heating season and at the start of the cooling season. This is part of the system tune-up and safety check that is performed by GAMA Air. Contact us at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a visit.

Why is it important to change your air filter?

  1. Efficiency – Dirty air filters force your system to use more energy to heat or cool your home. Trying to pinch pennies by not changing the air filter will cost you more than pennies in increased energy costs.
  2. Protection – A dirty air filter makes your central cooling equipment work harder than it should causing unnecessary wear and tear or even damage from overheating or other consequences.
  3. Health – Healthy indoor air quality is a valid concern. At some point your air filter will fill up and allow dust and lint to pass right through, aggravating asthma and allergy symptoms.

Do you have a nagging question about a situation you have with the heating or cooling in your home that you need answered ASAP? Visit our Ask an Expert page and fill out the form. We’ll get our resident expert to send an answer to you fast!

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