Many homeowners think that the only reason they should care about their air conditioner or furnace air filter is due to the allergens and particles in the air. But they’re only partially correct.
You may assume that a dirty air filter is an issue because it keeps your air dirty, and this is why we tell our customers to change theirs every 1–3 months. If you’re not suffering from allergies, it means your air filter is fine, right? Well, not quite.
Sure, helping your indoor air quality is a small part of what the HVAC air filter does, but this isn’t even close to its true purpose. It is designed to block your heating and cooling systems from dust, dirt, and other debris that can get inside and negatively impact the interior components.
Air Filters Contribute to Your Comfort
The standard HVAC air filter exists between the intake air and your HVAC system. A clogged air filter will prevent air from circulating through your room vents. In other words, you won’t have enough air to stay cool (or warm, depending on the season). As a result, you will feel less comfortable.
Have you noticed hot or cold spots throughout your living space? Or perhaps your thermostat says one temperature but you feel like it’s another? A clogged air filter can certainly be to blame. Keep reading for a couple more ways your air filter helps.
Air Filters Help Keep HVAC Systems in Good Shape
The way your air conditioner functions is by absorbing heat from the air within your home. As the refrigerant evaporates in the indoor condenser unit, the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blowing over the coil. If the air filter is too clogged up though, warm air gets restricted, and this can cause the coil to freeze.
This is a two-part problem. Ironically, a frozen coil will not be able to absorb heat, and this will cause reduced cool airflow to your home. Additionally, as the ice thaws, the water will make its way into and onto your property.
A frozen evaporator coil could have a couple of potential causes. If you notice this problem, you should call an HVAC pro regardless of whether or not your air filter is clogged up, since trying to thaw the evaporator coil on your own could cause further damage or injury to yourself.
Air Filters Help with Efficiency
If an air filter is too clogged up with debris, the blower fan of the air conditioner has to work harder to bring in the right amount of air. Changing your air filter on a regular basis restores proper airflow through the ventilation system and as a result can keep your monthly utility bills down where they should be.
Forced-air comfort systems are designed to take in a certain amount of air every time they go through a cycle. If a clogged air filter is blocking airflow, then, the components of your HVAC system have to work a lot harder just to do the job they’re intended to. This accelerates wear and tear, and your HVAC system has the potential to fail right when you need it the most.