Why Your AC Filter Is Clogging Up Faster Than It Should

A dirty air conditioner (AC) filter can quickly send your AC's efficiency south. This is why you need to replace or wash the filters regularly. If the filters are getting dirty faster than normal, however, you should look for a solution beyond replacement or washing. First, it helps to know the reason for the accelerated clogging, which may include things like the following:

Presence of a Pet

Having a pet in the house is likely to increase the level of dirt and debris particles in the air; this is especially true of dogs and cats. These animals shed their hair and dander, which inevitably end up in the AC filter. They may also track outside dirt into the house, and these will also find their way into the AC filter. Washing and brushing the pets regularly may help by reducing the amount of debris they shed, simultaneously helping your filter last longer between replacements.

Wrong Thermostat Setting

How you set the thermostat also determines how fast the AC filter gets clogged. A typical thermostat has two settings—"on" and "auto."  When the thermostat is set to "on," the AC runs throughout without resting. This means it will be handling air 24/7, and the more air it handles, the faster the filter will clog. Ideally, you should set the thermostat to "auto," so the AC only runs when the house needs active cooling or heating. This leaves some rest period when the AC isn't running and, by extension, reduces the rate of filter clogging.

Leaking Air Ducts

The presence of leaks in your air ducts can also make your filters clog faster than they should. This is because the air leaks will introduce dirty air into your home, and the dirt will eventually end up in the filter.

The solution here is to identify the source of the leak and plug it. Air ducts typically leak in the attic and the crawl place; get an AC technician to diagnose the cause and repair or plug it. You will also enjoy increased energy efficiency when you plug the leaks.

High MERV Rating

Lastly, your filter may also be getting clogged faster than it should if they have an extremely high MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. The MERV rating indicates the size of the particles the filter can trap; the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the filter can trap. A filter with a high MERV rating, therefore, traps more particles and clogs faster than a filter with a lower MERV rating. Consult your technician for the right MERV rating for your house.

To learn more about preventing clogged filters, talk to professionals like Classic Air and Heating.