1. Black Soot
Soot can quickly turn your air filters black, leaving you surprised when you remove to filter to replace it with a clean one. Soot is typically caused one of two ways: candles or gas water heaters.
Black soot is a byproduct of burning candles. For the most part, burning candles is harmless, but the buildup of excess candle soot can make your air filter less efficient overall. While the best option is to stop burning candles, you don’t have to give up your love of candles just yet.
– You can prevent candle soot from turning your AC filters black by trimming candle wicks to a one-quarter inch before lighting the candle each time
– Opt for all-natural candles made from soy and avoid using candles made from petroleum jelly or vegetable oil
– Avoid excess airflow around the candle to help reduce soot production
Gas water heaters can also produce black soot. If you have a gas water heater make sure the color of the flame is blue, which indicates a clean burn. If the flame is flickering, there may be an issue.
While black soot is not a welcome sight on your air filter, mold is worse. When you run your air conditioning system, condensation collects on the evaporator coil (especially in humid conditions like the good old’ Sunshine State). This moisture can transfer to the air filter where black mold can begin to grow.
If you find mold growing on the air filter, it’s important to dispose of the air filter immediately and replace your AC’s air filter. Besides worsening allergy symptoms, mold can cause asthma, fungal sinusitis, pneumonitis and more, so it’s important to take care of the issue right away. Find the source of the mold and call a technician to inspect your HVAC system to ensure that mold isn’t growing within the air handler.
3. Your Air Filter is Severely Clogged
If neither soot nor mold is causing your air filter to be black, it is likely severely clogged. When your air filter is clogged, it can restrict air flow, hindering your home’s indoor air quality while damaging your HVAC system in the process. A clogged air filter won’t be able to effectively stop pollutants, such as pet dander, from infiltrating your home, which can lessen the air quality you and your family breathes. Also, because air can’t pass easily through the filter, your system will run for longer periods of time, putting unnecessary wear and tear on your system.