You may have heard an HVAC technician tell you at some point that your air conditioner’s air filter needs to be changed. Have you wondered why? Maybe you assumed that a dirty air filter is an issue because it doesn’t protect your indoor air quality when it’s too clogged up. This isn’t quite right, though.
It’s true, when this air filter gets clogged up, it won’t be able to draw in particles from the air. However, that’s not even the purpose of this particular air filter. No, this air filter is in place to protect the interior components of the HVAC system itself. While it doesn’t hurt your indoor air quality, it’s actually in place to protect the integrity of the air conditioner.
So what happens when you don’t change your air filter regularly (every 1-3 months)? The following:
You’re Less Comfortable
The air filter of your HVAC system might seem like only a small part of your home comfort system, but looks can be very deceiving. The filter stands between the intake air and your HVAC systems. So if a filter is too clogged up, it prevents air from circulating through the vents.
Basically, you won’t have enough air coming through the vents to keep you adequately comfortable. If you notice hot or cold spots around the house, or if the air coming through the vents doesn’t seem as powerful as it should be, a clogged filter can be to blame.
You’re AC May Leak
Air conditioning systems function by absorbing heat from inside your home and then putting it through a refrigerant process. When refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, it absorbs heat from air blowing over that coil. However, when the air filter is too clogged up, warm air is limited, which can cause the coil to freeze.
And no, ice is never something you should see on an air conditioner. As this ice thaws out, water can leak into your home, causing structural damage. A frozen coil is a definite sign of a problem, and it could be because of other problems within the air conditioner. Still though, changing the filter regularly helps prevent this.
Your Energy Bills Spike
The blower fan of your air conditioner has to work a lot harder to try to bring in the right amount of air when a clogged air filter blocks airflow. By changing the air filter on a regular basis, you can easily lower your monthly utility bills.
Your HVAC System Can Get Damaged
Your air conditioner is designed to take in a certain amount of air each time it cycles—same as your heater. When airflow suffers, the components of the system have to work a lot harder to do their jobs. This means you can expect a lot of wear and tear over the season, and your HVAC system may fail you when you need it the most.