Potential Problems Caused by a Dirty AC Filter


When your AC filter gets a lot of use, like during the long, hot summer months, you’ll find that it can quickly become clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris. And although your HVAC technician probably replaces it annually (or as needed), you might need to change it more than once a year if it labors under heavy AC demand in your household. Unless you suffer from some kind of disability that precludes you from changing a filter, this is something you can do on your own – simply ask your HVAC technician how to access and replace your filters and what to buy. The reason you should become familiar with this procedure is that a failure to change out a dirty AC filter could lead to much more serious problems with your HVAC system. Here are some potential issues you may come up against when dealing with dirty AC filters.

First, you might notice a problem with the air pressure when you adjust your thermostat. When the filters are clogged, they can definitely impact the amount of air that gets through to your living spaces, compromising the strong air flow you’ve come to expect. The air may not only be weak, but it could also take significantly longer for your rooms to cool. In the meantime, your AC unit will labor more heavily, increasing the risk of further problems. In fact, a dirty filter could lead to very serious and expensive issues with your unit.

For one thing, fan blades could get gunked up and jam. And this will throw a wrench in the works when it comes to cooling your home interior. However, it might also lead to frost on the evaporator coils or a compressor shut-down, which could, in turn, cause complete system failure. And this, of course, will spell major expense for repair or replacement. Even worse, however, is the ill effects that clogged AC filters could have on your health.

For example, a dirty filter that goes untreated could result in particulates being recirculated throughout your home. While you may or may not notice additional dust floating around in your environment, common particulates like dust, pet dander, and even bacteria could be pushed through ducts and vented into your home and your breathable air, exacerbating conditions like allergies and asthma or even leading to new or worsening respiratory problems. And of course, you might start to notice a foul odor issuing forth.

This is even worse news for your health since it could signal the formation of mold in your system. A filthy filter that affects your AC unit could increase condensation, and additional moisture, especially when paired with heat, provides an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew. At this point, you might want to shut down the AC and rely on your ceiling fans until you can get the problem sorted out. But if you’d rather prevent such problems, simply make sure to check your filters regularly and replace them as needed. It’s neither difficult nor expensive to do so and it could save you a lot of time, money, and heartache.

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