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Dirty air filter

Why Are My Air Filters So Dirty?

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While all air filters get dirty because they’re cleaning the air in your home, some collect dirt and debris much faster than others. If you don’t change air filters regularly, it can cause efficiency and performance problems with your system. But if you find that you’re constantly changing them, you may have one or more of the following issues:

Home contaminants

Often, the number one reason your filters are clogging up quickly is an increase in airborne contaminants. You will typically notice your filters getting dirty faster if you get a new pet, add to the number of people in your home, have a construction project in or around your home, or if dust has accumulated in the home from lack of cleaning. Vacuuming, dusting and brushing your pet regularly can help reduce these contaminants, and you won’t have to change your filters so often.

Check your thermostat settings

Thermostats have 2 fan settings – “On” and “Auto.” If the fan is set to “Auto” the fan shuts off when the air reaches the desired temperature. If the fan is set to “On,” it will run constantly. The plus side of this setting is that your air is constantly being filtered, but it also means that your filter is filling up much quicker. Switching to the “Auto” setting may help you get more life out of your filters.

Extreme temperatures

Even if your fan set to “Auto,” extreme temperatures can keep your system running far more frequently to heat or cool your home. You may want to replace the filters more often during severe weather seasons.

Type of filter

In general if you are using cheaper filters, they’re not going to last as long. Standard fiberglass filters are meant to only last around 30 days. Depending on the other factors on this list, they may not even last that long. You can purchase more expensive filters that are designed to last between 60 - 90 days. On the other hand, if you purchase a more expensive filter with too high of a “MERV” rating, it will filter out particles that are too small, thus causing your filter to clog. Thicker isn’t always better. Your HVAC technician can walk you through your options to help pick out the right filter for your system and home.

If your filter is constantly dirty after only a few weeks, one option is to vacuum the surface of the filter. While this doesn’t make your filter “clean” (as there are still tons of contaminates and dirt particles trapped beneath the surface), it will remove a significant portion of the dirt and debris trapped on the surface, and help lengthen the amount of time you have between changing your filters.

Installing an air purification system is a more effective solution to dirty filters. This system is designed to remove many particles on its own before they ever reach the HVAC filter. This option is great if you have someone in your home with severe allergies or multiple pets.

If you are having to change your air filters too frequently, are considering having an air purification system installed, or just want to discuss what filter options are best for your system, give the pros at A#1 Air a call!


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Sherry Green
Owner at A#1 Air
Over 27 years as an award-winning leader in one of the most competitive HVAC markets in the United States. Dedicated to serving the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex for Heating and Air Conditioning - Residential, Commercial, Mechanical - as well as for Electrical and Plumbing services.

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