Have you ever wondered what happens if you don’t change your AC filter? Replacing the air filter in an air conditioning system is an essential component of regular home maintenance. An AC air filter plays an important role in keeping a home or business cool and comfortable. However, if you don’t change your AC filter, it can result in an array of problems.
What AC Air Filters Do
To maintain a cool temperature inside a structure, an air conditioning system must pull in air from a room, transfer it through coils to chill it, then blow the cooled air through the ductwork and back into the home or building. The air filter can be found at the point where the air is pulled into the AC system. It is the responsibility of the air filter to trap airborne particles which helps maintain clean indoor air quality and prevents contaminants from clogging the blower and coils. AC filters also help prevent the buildup of dust and debris inside the ductwork which would otherwise be blown throughout the interior of the home.
Buildup of Dust, Mold and Bacteria
Air filters are generally constructed of spun fiberglass material, pleated cloth, or paper enclosed in a cardboard frame. The unique construction of an air filter allows air to flow through but not larger particles like dirt and dust. While air filters physically last a long time, they cannot effectively screen air for more than several weeks or months. Over time, the filter will become clogged with debris rendering it ineffective. If an AC air filter is not replaced on a regular basis, dust, bacteria, and mold can accumulate in the blower fans and ductwork. Dust can even jam the moving parts of the system and the unit will have to use more power to overcome the obstacles.
Poor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality is a common consequence of not changing an AC air filter. When an air filter becomes clogged with debris, it is unable to effectively pull in new air. This means that the air in the home or building is not moving as it should, which can result in stagnant air. In addition, the AC unit will not be able to trap any more contaminants which increases a person’s risk of developing a wide range of health-related problems.
Many people do not realize that their air conditioning system can actually impact their health. More than just keeping you cool, your AC unit works to remove harmful pollutants from the air such as allergens, mold spores, pollen, and germs. When an AC filter is not changed regularly, these pollutants can linger in the air where they are breathed in by people. In addition, failure to change an AC filter can cause moisture to build up in the ductwork and this moisture provides the perfect environment for mold growth. When mold grows and spreads, it produces spores that can be transferred into the air, contributing to respiratory illnesses.
Mechanical Damage & Failure
Dirt and dust buildup in an AC system can lead to mechanical damage and even failure in the long-term. Much like any other type of machinery, an air conditioner must be kept clean and free of debris to keep it operating properly. When a filter is not changed regularly, it forces the AC unit to work harder, shortening the operating life of the HVAC system. In addition, clogged air filters may contribute to the need for frequent costly repairs and replacements that could often be avoided by simply changing out the filter.
High Energy Bills
Debris that collects inside an air conditioning system forces the unit to work harder which can have a negative impact on energy consumption. Because the AC will need to operate longer to perform the same tasks as before, it requires more energy which can greatly increase the owner’s energy bills. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty air filter for a clean one can reduce the energy consumption of an air conditioner by an average of 5 to 15 percent. Ideally, air filters should be replaced every 90 days in homes without pets and about every 20 to 60 days in homes with pets, depending on the number of pets.
Call the HVAC Professionals to Check Your Unit
Changing the air filter in an air conditioning unit is a critical part of regular home maintenance. In addition to the reasons listed above to change an AC unit, other reasons include, to avoid a tripped circuit breaker due to the motor becoming too strained, ice forming on the evaporator coil preventing warm air from crossing over and the breakdown of components due to debris getting into the cabinet. To learn more about the importance of changing an AC air filter or to schedule HVAC service, contact the cooling experts at Cool Works Co.