4 Common Reasons Your HVAC Filters Are Getting Dirty So Fast

If you have ever wondered: “Why do my air filters get dirty so fast?” you’re not alone. Many homeowners have asked this question.

Where does all of the dust and dirt come from? And more importantly, what can you do to stop it?

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a dirty hvac filter

Possible Causes

There are many reasons why your air conditioner filters are getting dirty quickly. Here are the top four culprits. 

  1. Cheap filters: Cheap filters tend to have shorter lifespans than high-quality filters. Take, for instance, the standard fiberglass air filters. These types of air filters are generally designed to last for 30 days. Therefore, if you notice that your air filters are gathering dirt fast, it may be due to the inexpensive and low-quality air filters you’re buying.
  1. High temperatures: When the outside temperatures become extreme, your air filter might begin to experience dirt problems. This is because, during extremely hot weather, more air is pushed through the AC system by the blower motor. As a result, the filters will capture more dirt and clog faster. 
  1. Contaminants in the Air: High levels of dust and debris put a strain on your unit, making your filters clog faster. An increase in the number of people in your home can also increase the amount of dirt being kicked up into your system.
  1. Leaking air ducts: The air ducts are responsible for carrying heated or cooled air around your home. If there are duct leaks, this will make your unit work harder and get dirtier faster.
  1. Mold: In some cases, moisture can transfer to the air conditioner, leading to growth and accumulation of mold on the air filters. Aside from slowing your system, mold can also cause health issues. 

Problems Caused by Dirty Filters

When your air filter becomes dirty, you may experience the following problems:

  • Overheating: When the AC filters are dirty, they may eventually cause your air conditioning system to overheat. This is because the system has to work harder to keep up. 
  • Inadequate heating/cooling: If your AC filters become clogged, reaching the desired indoor temperature levels can be difficult. Less air blowing through the system due to dirt and debris can, in turn, lead to uncomfortable warm temperatures in your home. 
  • Unclean air: If your conditioner is not working properly, the air inside your house will become stagnant, and this can cause poor indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to respiratory issues such as asthma and lung disease.

How to Choose the Best Air Filters for Your Home

Air filters are one of the most important components of your HVAC system. Your unit’s performance is directly influenced by what air filters you choose and how well you maintain them.

Here is a breakdown of the main types of air filters for your home and how to choose the right one for you. 

Types of Filters

Certain features and properties set apart different types of filters. To browse for air filters efficiently, you have to decide what kind of product your unit needs. Here’s what to keep in mind.

  • The Size of the Filters – Make sure to accurately measure or check the size of the old filters on your HVAC system. Only go with what the manufacturer recommends, as filters that are incorrectly sized will not perform properly. Atypical openings will need air filters in special sizes and shapes, as trying to adjust a standard one yourself can render it inefficient. 
  • The Materials Used – The variety of materials and styles you can find can make your choice difficult, especially if you don’t know what to look for. You might need a thicker and denser filter if you live in a house where more air is circulated. Most air filters are made out of fiberglass, as it’s one of the more affordable options. Eco-friendly materials are also available, especially for reusable filters that one can wash for maintenance.
  • The Style – Two of the most commonly found styles of air filters are: pleated and honeycomb. Pleated filters have a bigger surface area to process the air, allowing the filter to catch more particles and circulate the air easier. In addition to the pleated style, these filters often have an electrostatic charge, which traps the particles and makes them stick to the filter. The honeycomb structure is mostly seen in more affordable filters. The honeycomb cells are made with paper fibers, fiberglass, or textile fibers, filtering the dirty air through the flutes.

The above characteristics are the very basics of air filters for your home. Here is more information that you can check when looking for air filters for your home.

The MERV Rating

The MERV rating system (an acronym for the minimum efficiency reporting value) is a 1 to 16 scale that shows how effective an air filter is in filtering out particles.

MPR (Microparticle Performance Rating)

MPR rates the filter’s ability to keep out nanoparticles from the air (particles with a circumference smaller than 1 micron. For people suffering from dust, mites, pollen allergies, a system with a high MPR can drastically change the quality of their life.

Call Thomas Hoffmann Air Conditioning & Heating

Whether your air filters are getting dirty too quickly, your system needs maintenance, or you are in need of any other HVAC service, our experienced HVAC technicians can help! Give us a call today!

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At Thomas Hoffmann Air Conditioning & Heating, we pride ourselves in being a locally owned and operated HVAC company. With more than 30 years of experience and a master technician and mechanical engineer as our owner, we can replace, repair, and provide maintenance for your business or home’s HVAC system.

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4 thoughts on “4 Common Reasons Your HVAC Filters Are Getting Dirty So Fast”

  1. I’ve been noticing my HVAC filters getting dirty so quickly lately, and it’s been bugging me. Just stumbled upon an article explaining why this happens, and it totally clicked! Apparently, stuff like pet hair, construction dust, and poor insulation can mess with filter cleanliness


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