Homeowners often think that the only reason they need to worry at all about their HVAC system’s air filter is because of the particles and allergens in their indoor air. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite right.
People often assume that a dirty air filter is an issue because it keeps the air dirty and that this is the reason technicians tell you to change it every 1-3 months. If you aren’t suffering from allergies at the moment, this means your air filter is fine where it is, right?
While helping your indoor air quality is a very small advantage of these air filters, their purpose isn’t entirely for that. Their actual purpose is to protect the interior components of the HVAC system itself from dirt, dust, and other debris. Read on to learn more about how a dirty, clogged air filter impacts the life of your air conditioner.
A Dirty Air Filter Will Hurt Your Home Comfort
The air filter that comes standard with your air conditioner stands between the intake air register and your HVAC system. Therefore, a clogged up air filter prevents air from circulating through the vents as it should. This means you will not have enough air to stay cool (or warm if we’re talking about wintertime). As a result, you’ll of course feel less comfortable in your home.
If you discover cold or hot spots throughout your home, or if your thermostat has one temperature on it but you feel like it’s not accurate, a clogged air filter can absolutely be to blame. But as we are going to discuss, minor discomfort is really the least of your worries.
A Clogged Up Air Filter Can Create AC Leakage
The way your air conditioner operates is by absorbing heat from the air inside your home. As the refrigerant evaporates within the indoor condenser unit, your system’s evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blowing over said coil. But if the air filter is too clogged up, warm air is restricted, which will eventually cause the coil to freeze.
This is a two-in-one problem. Ironically, a frozen AC coil will not be able to absorb heat, which will cause low airflow going into the home. Additionally, as the ice thaws, the water will have nowhere to go but onto your property and into your home.
A frozen evaporator coil doesn’t have just one single cause of course. So if you notice it, you should call a professional right away, and you shouldn’t try to remove or thaw ice on your own. Doing so can unintentionally do more harm than good.
In the meantime, though, do check your air filter and if it seems like it’s pretty clogged up, go ahead and change it!
Dirty Air Filters Reduce AC Efficiency
When an air filter gets too blocked up, the blower fan has to run longer to try to bring in the right amount of air. Changing the air filter on a regular basis helps restore the proper airflow through the ductwork, which means more efficient AC use and lower energy bills.