Do you know why the air filter inside your HVAC system is so important? Whether we’re talking about your furnace, heat pump, or central air conditioner, the air filter does have a very important job, but it’s probably not what you think.
Many homeowners believe that the air filter is in place to protect their indoor air quality. You wouldn’t be completely wrong if you believe this. The air filter certainly doesn’t hurt your indoor air quality. But its actual purpose is to protect the interior components of the HVAC system itself from dust, dirt, and other debris that can harm its sensitive components.
This means that it can cause problems for the HVAC system if it gets too clogged up, which is why you should change your air filter every 1-3 months. Read on to learn more about this!
A Clogged Air Filter Will Decrease Your Comfort
The HVAC air filter sits between the intake air and your HVAC system. So, when a filter is too clogged up, it prevents the air from circulating through the vents. In other words, whether we’re talking about an air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump, your HVAC equipment simply won’t be able to provide you with the treated air you’re supposed to be getting. As a result, you won’t be as comfortable as you should be!
If you notice cold or hot spots throughout the home, or if your thermostat shows it’s one temperature even though you feel like it’s another, a dirty, a clogged air filter could be the culprit. But read on, because reduced comfort isn’t the only problem.
A Dirty Air Filter Can Cause Equipment Malfunctions
Let’s first talk about your air conditioner–the way this system function is by absorbing heat from the air inside your living space. As refrigerant evaporates in the indoor condenser unit, the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blowing over that coil. But if the air filter is too dirty, then warm air is restricted, which causes the coil to freeze. From there, it can’t absorb heat, and your system will essentially have to work “harder” to do its job.
What happens in a forced-air heating system is similar in that airflow is impacted. When a furnace isn’t getting enough intake air, it can overheat, which can cause the entire system to break down. Even if it doesn’t cause immediate damage, it does exacerbate wear and tear, which is never good news.
You’ll Have Higher Utility Bills
As we’ve covered, a dirty air filter prevents your HVAC system from performing as efficiently as it’s meant to. When your air conditioner or furnace works inefficiently, it drains more power than it otherwise would. As a result, you’ll find yourself paying more for your electricity and/or gas just to keep your home reasonably comfortable.
Take a look at your utility bills. Are they significantly higher than they were this same time last year, or higher than what your neighbors are paying? This is a definite sign that something in your home is working inefficiently, and it could very well be your HVAC system(s) to blame.