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It is unfortunate that many people who purchase filters consider them to be a “necessary evil” and buy due to low price rather than performance. In the short term, this may save money. In the long run, it will waste a lot more money.
Filters are used in air conditioning systems primarily to protect the evaporator coils, the most expensive part of the air handler. These coils are designed to remove heat from the air, thus cooling the air being fed to the occupied area. Coils are made from metals, which have a high propensity for transferring heat and are usually made from aluminum and copper. As these coils start to get dirt buildup on them, their performance suffers greatly. Dirty coils drive electrical costs up and will cause them to eventually have to be replaced. Coils are expensive to buy and install, and replacement requires unit downtime.
Most coil manufacturers recommend cleaning coils annually to extend their life. Unfortunately, this annual cleaning is often cut from the budget and does not get performed. And even if cleaning does get performed, it is often not done satisfactorily, as the work is time-consuming and tedious. This makes the air filter’s performance that much more important in extending the life of the coil.
Over the years, coil manufacturers have reduced the spacing between the coil fins as well as made the coils deeper to increase their efficiency rating. However, these same performance improvements have also made the coils more likely to foul, and much harder to clean effectively.
That is why choosing the right air filter has become financially more important today than ever before. Buyers need to be aware that the life of the coil is dependent on how clean it stays, and its cleanliness is directly dependent on the efficiency of the air filters and how they are managed.
A good air filter maintenance program can easily pay for itself by extending the life of the coils. It also saves energy, prolongs duct-cleaning costs, and improves the quality of the air.
So yes, you need to change those air filters, and no, you shouldn’t get the least expensive ones. Extend the life of your coils and your entire air conditioning system by investing in high-quality air filters.
Ready to shop for filters, or need advice for your unit? Contact us today.