Your allergies are going haywire and it’s not even allergy season. No matter how much you clean your home, you still have a bad case of the sniffles. Wait, did you check the air filter?
When air filters get dirty, they can spread contaminants through your home and set off your allergies. A dusty filter will also cause your heating and cooling system to work harder, which means higher energy bills.
Should you clean your filter and reuse it, or is it time to throw it out and get a new one? Unless you have a specially designed reusable filter, the answer is always the latter. Keep reading to learn why you should never try to clean your dirty filter.
You’ll Never Get Them All the Way Clean
As you run your HVAC unit, it will attract dust, pollen, and dirt. You can vacuum away some of these contaminants, but no matter how hard you try, there’s only so much that hose attachment can do.
The allergens have seeped deep into the fibers of the filter. Reusing air filters like this will do more than ruin the air quality in your home. It can put a serious strain on the system and drive your energy bills through the roof.
Higher Energy Bill
Your HVAC blower fan pumps air through your air filter continuously. The dirtier the filter gets, the harder the fan has to work to do its job.
It will also use up a ton of energy. You’ll be using as high as 15 percent more power to run your furnace or air conditioner until you replace the clogged-up filter.
Frozen Evaporator coils
When you run your air conditioner, condensation builds up on the evaporator coils. Normally, this isn’t a big deal. The cool air that runs through your system can get rid of this condensation and keep everything in good working order.
When the filter clogs, the air can’t get to the coils. The condensation will cause them to get cooler and cooler until the internal temperature reaches frozen conditions.
The system will no longer be able to blow air through your home the way that it should. Over time, it will stop working altogether unless you have it serviced.
Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs
As soon as you notice the signs that your air filter needs changing, you should do so. Common signs include increased allergy symptoms, higher than normal energy bills, and a collection of dust near the air vents.
If you ignore the problem, dust will begin to gather in the HVACs components. This can cause a system failure, which is much more expensive to deal with than buying new filters.
Bad Air Quality
Again, when you run your air conditioner or furnace, it gathers particulates like pollen, dust, and other allergens. It keeps the air quality in your home in check until it gets too dirty. If that happens, it will circulate all of those bad contaminants back into the air.
Breathing all of this isn’t good for those in your home who have asthma and allergies. Vacuuming will help, but you’ll be fighting a losing battle with dust constantly being pumped through your vents.
Wet Filters Equal Mold
So, you can’t vacuum your air filter, but can you place it in the sink and wash it? The answer is a huge no. The fibers that make up disposable air filters are not meant to get wet.
They will retain every bit of moisture from the washing. Where there’s moisture, there will be mold and mildew. If it’s allowed to form, the spores will travel through your air ducts and make your family sick.
Even if you do get lucky and no mold forms, a wet air filter isn’t exactly good at trapping in pollutants. It doesn’t trap any particles from the air, as the fibers are stretched too far.
Reusable Air Filters
Filters are for one use only. After three months or so, you’ll have to change it out for a fresh one. The only exception is reusable air filters.
These washable filters are made out of more durable materials and can be cleaned. Keep in mind that you’ll run into the same sort of problems with a clogged reusable filter that you would with a dirty disposable one. You’ll have to remember to take it out at least once a month or so to clean it.
Replace Your Air Filters
If you’re experiencing allergies or you’re getting high energy bills in the mail, this is a clear sign that you need to clean or replace your air filter. Remember, disposable air filters should never be cleaned.