Our home and our business are located in South Texas where the cost of cooling can be quite expensive. The summer of 2009 broke all of the heat records since records have been kept with more than 59 days with temperatures over 100 degrees, many of which were 103 or better. With temperatures above 90 degrees until midnight on some days the air conditioning system was working overtime to try and keep up.
A good operating AC system will use refrigerant to lower the temperature of the cooling system and generate a high volume of airflow through the cooling system to keep your home cool. It is important to keep the air flowing through the central cooling system as quickly as possible to maintain a high efficiency of cooling and keep your electric bills low. A clean furnace filter is critical to both maintaining system performance and protecting your AC cooling coil, the radiator like device with small fins made from metal that transfers the cool from refrigerant to the airflow that is used to cool your home. Without a filter your AC coil would quickly become clogged with dust and your systems performance would quickly drop. With a clean filter you are allowing the maximum amount of airflow through the system but protecting the AC coil from damaging dust. A dirty AC intake filter chokes airflow from your system which requires the entire system to run longer in order to provide the same level of cool as a system with a clean filter, this is why a clean filter is so important.
Regardless of what type of filter you use; fiberglass or high efficiency, every filter and AC system will benefit from cleaning with your central vacuum. Use your suction hose with a dusting brush to clean your AC systems furnace filter whenever you vacuum your home. Vacuuming your furnace filter will remove the build up of dirt and dust that impedes airflow through your system and increases your cooling systems run time. Vacuuming your furnace filter will not likely extend the life of your filter though. The small particles that embed themselves into the filter media can not be removed by vacuum without destroying the filter. These embedded particles will still accumulate over time and the filter will need replacement. Vacuuming the filter will however greatly increase it’s airflow efficiency during it’s normal life which will keep your system operating at peak efficiency saving you money in summer and during the winter in a central heating system.
One word of caution: using a portable vacuum to maintain your furnace filters is not recommended. The dust captured by some high efficiency furnace filters can cause problems with portable vacuum cleaners smaller filtration systems. In some cases they may clog your portable vacuums filter quickly which may require a costly filter change in your vacuum. In some portable vacuums the fine dust vacuumed from a furnace filter may pass right through the vacuums bag and filter system and be spewed into the air inside your home. Central vacuum with their high performance suction motors, larger and more efficient filtration systems and of course their outside exhaust venting design offer 100% filtration of all vacuumed particles, including that from furnace filters.