Here in Wichita, Kansas, our cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers dictate that we use our HVAC systems for most of the year. Any measure to maximize operational efficiency pays off in two ways: by reducing fuel costs, and by increasing equipment life. The easiest of routine maintenance procedures is probably changing your air filter(s), and that simple process pays dividends in both of those categories. It can also increase the healthfulness of the air your family breathes, so put air filter replacement on your monthly to-do list as a way to improve your indoor air quality.
Understanding Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) describes the air within your living, working and shopping spaces, in terms of the presence or absence of environmental pollutants. In its work to maximize IAQ, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is very concerned with sources of pollution, and its risks to public health.
The most commonly encountered indoor pollutants include radon, toxic mold and mold spores, excessive moisture, tobacco smoke and environmental asthma triggers (such as pet dander and plant pollens). Just as inadequate ventilation can contribute to indoor pollutant levels, whole-house filtration can reduce them. The humble air filter in your HVAC installation is able to minimize most of these contaminants and, thus, the problems they cause.
Be On Alert
Allergy sufferers, people with asthma and other pulmonary disorders are likely to be impacted first by poor IAQ. If any member of your household experiences atypical headaches or dizziness, or irritation of the eye/nose/throat area, check your air filter. If it’s no longer the color it was when installed — typically pleated paper units are white; fiberglass mat units are often blue — then it should be changed. Discoloration is commonly gray; the darker the gray, the dirtier the filter. Dirty filters will restrict air flow and cause your heating and cooling system to run longer causing an increase in operating costs.
Even if there’s no graying, filters should be changed once a month (this advice doesn’t apply to certain high-tech variants). For more advice on this subject contact Comfort Systems.