home air filter replacement

Why Do My Air Filters Get Dirty So Fast?

Chills Air Conditioning Expert Advice & News Leave a Comment

If you are a regular reader of AC blogs, you’ll know by now that we air conditioner repairmen seem to be a bit obsessed with telling you to keep your filters clean. This is because a dirty ac filter can lead to all sorts of problems, including frozen coils.

Being the responsible homeowner that you are, you are following our advice and cleaning or replacing your ac air filters every time they start to show signs of a build-up of dirt. But perhaps you’re starting to think that this is happening too often. If you’re wondering why your air filters seem to get dirty so fast, read on.

How Quickly Do Air Filters Get Dirty?

This depends on the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of the filter. This is a measurement of the size of the particles the filter is designed to catch. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter removes from the air and the quicker it gets dirty. 

Different types of filters have different ratings, so now we’ll take a look at these.

  • Fibreglass
    These filters are about one inch thick and are made from spun fibreglass. They should be replaced about once a month.
  • Pleated
    Made from polyester or paper material pleated together, these range in thickness from one to six inches and typically need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months.
  • Electrostatic
    As they are washable, these filters do not need to be replaced very often. They should be washed or vacuumed at least once a month as the contaminants trapped between the positively and negatively charged materials build up quickly.
  • HEPA 
    HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are the most commonly used home central ac filters. These remove the most contaminants from the air but thanks to their unique design only need to be replaced every 12 to 18 months.

Reasons Your Air Filters Get Clogged More Quickly

If you have to do home air filter replacement more often than the periods recommended for the type that you are using, you should try to discover and remedy the reason. 

Here are the most common reasons for air filters to get clogged quickly.

  • You are leaving your fan on
    If your fan is on 24 hours a day, more air is circulating through your system, carrying more contaminants with it. These means your filters are picking up dirt at a faster rate than usual. Try switching the thermostat fan setting from ON to AUTO. This will save your filters without affecting your comfort. If you need to keep the fan blowing while you are at home due to a medical condition like asthma, use the AUTO setting when you are out of the house.
  • There are a lot of people in your space
    If you have a large family or many guests, or as often happens, a large family with many guests, this will increase the amount of contaminants in the air and shorten the life of your filters. One possible solution is to invest in an additional home air filtration system.
  • You have pets
    If you have any sort of pet that’s not a fish or reptile, they are shedding hairs or feathers and raising dust in your home. Dogs and cats will also bring dirt in fro outside in their fur, leaving your filters struggling to remove it all. Again, a home air filtration system might be the answer.
  • Your ducts are leaky

Leaky ducts don’t just let the cool air escape from your system, they also let contaminants into it. If you’ve noticed you’ve had to lower your thermostat to maintain temperature levels recently, and your filters seem to be getting dirty quicker than usual, you might want to call a maintenance man to look at your ductwork.

We hope this blog has been informative and if you still have concerns contact us today and we’ll be happy to help. 

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