Many homeowners believe that the only purpose of the air filter inside their HVAC system is to filter allergens and other potentially harmful particles from their indoor air. Here’s the thing—not only is this not its only purpose, it’s not its purpose at all.
The air filter that comes standard with your HVAC system upon manufacturing is there to protect the inside components of the HVAC system itself from dust, dirt, and other debris. Sure, it helps a bit with indoor air quality by drawing particles out of the air, but what you should be more concerned with is the state of your heating or air conditioner. Why? Read on!
A Dirty or Clogged Air Filter Can Hurt Your Comfort
This air filter is in place between the intake air from your home and the internal components of your HVAC system. A clogged up air filter will prevent air from circulating through the ventilation system. In other words, you won’t have enough air to stay cool (or warm, depending on the season) and as a result, you will feel less comfortable.
If you notice uneven cooling or heating throughout your living space, or if your thermostat says one temperature but the house feels like it’s at another, then you may very well have a clogged air filter to blame. And the problem is, minor discomfort is just the start of dirty air filter issues.
Dirty Air Filters Inhibit the Refrigerant Process
The way a cooling system works is by absorbing heat from the air within the home. As the refrigerant evaporates within the indoor condenser unit, the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blowing over that coil. However, if the air filter is too clogged up, warm air is restricted, which can cause the coil to freeze over.
Ironically, a frozen coil will be unable to absorb heat as it should. So, not only will a thawing coil cause water damage to your home, but while it’s frozen it will restrict the air conditioner from doing its job.
That said, frozen evaporator coils aren’t just the result of dirty air filters. If you change your air filter and still have a problem, it’s worth a call to the pros. Trying to thaw a frozen evaporator coil on your own could cause more harm than good, unfortunately.
Dirty Air Filters + Inefficient HVAC Systems = Higher Energy Bills!
If your air filter is too clogged up, the blower fan has to work harder to try to bring in the right amount of cooled or heated air. Changing your HVAC air filter every 1-3 months regularly restores the proper airflow through the ventilation system, and as a result, can help keep your monthly energy bills down at a reasonable level.
Your Air Conditioner Can Suffer Form Irreversible Damage
Your forced-air comfort systems were designed to take in a certain amount of air each time they complete a cooling or heating cycle. So if a clogged air filter is blocking airflow, the components of your HVAC system have to work harder to do the job they’re intended for. This means you can expect accelerated wear and tear over the season, and your HVAC system can fail when you need it the most.