Oftentimes, homeowners think that the only reason they should worry about their HVAC system’s air filter is due to the indoor air quality threats present in their home. This is partially correct, but not totally.
Even if you aren’t suffering from allergies at the moment and don’t notice any obvious air quality problems, you should still be changing this air filter every 1-3 months. The reason isn’t so much for your air quality, but rather to protect the HVAC system itself.
The purpose of this air filter is to protect the inside components of your air conditioner or heater. Read on to learn more, and to discover just how a dirty air filter impacts your HVAC system.
A Dirty Air Filter Will Hurt Your Comfort
The air filter of your HVAC system sits between the intake air and the system itself. A clogged up air filter will prevent air from circulating through the vents—in other words, you won’t have enough air to stay cool or warm, depending on the season. As a result, you’ll feel less comfortable.
If you notice hot or cold spots throughout your home when your HVAC system is running, or if your thermostat says one temperature but you feel like it’s incorrect, a clogged air filter can certainly be to blame. But, as we are about to discuss, minor discomfort may be the least of your troubles.
A Clogged Air Filter Creates Operational Problems
The way your air conditioner works is by absorbing heat from the air within your home. As the refrigerant evaporates within 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 can cause the coil to freeze.
This is a problem for two reasons—a frozen coil can’t absorb heat, first off. This causes low airflow which is inefficient and costly. In addition, as the ice thaws, the condensation will have nowhere to go but into your property.
A frozen evaporator coil can actually have a couple different causes aside from a clogged air filter. So if you do notice this problem, you should call an HVAC pro regardless of whether or not you suspect your air filter is to blame. Trying to thaw the evaporator coil on your own could cause further damage, or you may injure yourself.
This problem doesn’t just afflict central air conditioners either—it’s troublesome for heat pumps as well. And since you use your heat pump for cooling and heating, you’ll want to take care of the problem ASAP, before you need it to remain in heating mode for months at a time.
HVAC Inefficiency Will Cause Your Energy Bills to Rise
When your HVAC system’s air filter gets too clogged, the blower fan has to work that much harder to try to bring in the right amount of air Changing your air filter on a regular basis restores the proper airflow through the ventilation system, and as a result can help keep your monthly utility bills down where they should be.