A Commonly Hidden HVAC Problem

This is the time of the year when property owners discover devastating issues in their heating systems.  Unfortunately, far too few people take action to have these systems inspected and maintained during the shoulder months, when the HVAC system is typically at rest.  That means that when it is time to turn the heat on, when the temperatures fall, and the system has to work at full capacity, these problems are discovered the hard way.

Perhaps, worse still are the issues that are not discovered, that do cause an interruption in the operation of the system, but rather linger behind the scenes.  Dirty air filters are certainly among those frequently undetected concerns, and a big one at that.  There are many negative effects that can be caused by dirty air filters.

  • Health Concerns The point of air filters is to remove dust, debris, mold spores and other such allergens from the air. When they are clogged and not working properly, the indoor air quality is drastically reduced and this can cause serious problems for young children, elderly, asthma sufferers, or others with respiratory illnesses.
  • Higher Monthly Bills A dirty air filter can also reduce the efficiency of the heating system because air cannot pass through as easily, which means that the system has to work harder to supply the space. Research has suggested that a dirty air filter can increase energy bills by as much as 10%.

The obvious solution is to have the system regularly maintained, including the changing of air filters.  However, there are also sensors that can alert property owners or maintenance crews that filters must be changed.  SRP Controls stocks pressure transducers that can be installed on the upstream- and downstream sides of air filters.  These can provide readouts of pressure differentials on air filters for the owners or technicians. The manufactures of the filters usually provide charts that include recommended pressure drops across the filters at various air flows. An HVAC tech should be aware of the requirements, or able to retrieve that information, so alerts can be issued when the pressure levels are beyond the scope outlined by the manufacturer.  That means that the dirty filters can be changed right away, instead of being allowed to linger, causing those problems listed above.