If you think the only reason you should change your air filter is due to the allergens and particles in your indoor air, you’re only partially right.
Many homeowners do, in fact, assume that a dirty air filter is an issue because it keeps the air in their homes dirty, and that this is why we advise to change that air filter every 1-3 months. So if you aren’t suffering from allergies in the moment, this means your air filter is fine where it is, right?
Well, not quite—you see, while an air filter does help with indoor air quality, this is not actually its intended purpose. Rather, it is in place to protect the interior components of your air conditioner, or forced air heater. Read on to learn more, and to get the answer as to why you must change your air filter.
A Dirty Air Filter Will Hurt Your Comfort
Your HVAC air filter is placed between the intake air and the internal components of your HVAC system. This means that a clogged up air filter will prevent air form circulating through the vents. In other words, you won’t actually have enough air to stay cool (or warm, depending on the season). As a result, you won’t feel as comfortable as you should.
If you notice hot or cold spots throughout the home, or if your thermostat says one temperature but you feel like it’s another, a clogged air filter can certainly be to blame. But as we’ll go into further, minor discomfort is really the least of your problems.
A Clogged Air Filter Can Lead to HVAC Damage
The way your air conditioner functions is by absorbing heat form the air within your home. As the refrigerant evaporates within the indoor condenser unit, a component called the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blowing over the coil. However, if the air filter is too clogged up, warm air is restricted, which will cause the coil to freeze over.
Ironically, a frozen coil (which you should never actually see on your air conditioner) won’t be able to absorb heat, which causes low airflow going into your home. Additionally, as the ice thaws, the water will have nowhere to go but onto and into your property.
This said, a frozen evaporator could be caused by something else entirely outside of your air filter. So, if you notice this problem, whether your air filter is to blame or not, it’s never a bad idea to give an HVAC pro a call.
Your Utility Bills Will Increase
When an air filter is too clogged up, the blower fan has to work that much harder to try to bring in the right amount of air. Changing your air filter regularly restores proper airflow through your ventilation system, and as a result can keep your monthly utility bills down where they should be.
You May Experience Irreversible AC Damage
The fact is, your air conditioner is designed to take in a certain amount of air each time it goes through a cooling cycle. So, if a clogged filter is blocking that airflow from coming in, the components of your HVAC system have to essentially work and run in overtime to do the job they’re intended to do. This means you can expect accelerated wear and tear, and your air conditioner might fail you when you need it the most.