Why Do I Need to Change My Filter if My Air Quality is Fine?
Many homeowners are under the impression that they only need to worry about their HVAC Air Filter as it relates to and affects the air quality of their home. While air quality can be a cause for concern, it is not the only reason you should change your filter regularly.
Even if there are no noticeable air quality issues occurring, you should change your air filter every 1-3 months to protect your HVAC system as a whole. While air filters can greatly improve air quality, their primary purpose is to protect the inside components of your air conditioner or heater. Read on to learn more about how dirty air filters impact your HVAC system.
Dirty Filters Cause Discomfort
In your HVAC system, the air filter sits between the intake air and the system itself. If your air filter is clogged, it will prevent air from circulating through the vents. This makes it far more difficult for your system to keep your home a consistent temperature, especially if the weather varies throughout the day. Because of this, you may notice a decrease in your usual comfort at home.
If your HVAC system is active, and you feel hot or cold spots throughout your home, or the temperature on your thermostat doesn’t seem right, it may be because your air filter is clogged. These issues may be easy to ignore, by throwing on a sweater or drinking more water, but you certainly shouldn’t! As you’ll learn if you keep reading, this minor discomfort may be the least of your troubles.
Operational Issues from Clogged Filters
Your air conditioner works by absorbing most of the heat from the air within your home. As the refrigerant evaporates within the indoor condenser unit, the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blowing over that coil. When the air filter is too dirty, it restricts the warm air intake, which can lead to the coil freezing.
Frozen coils can create a twofold problem. First, the frozen coil can’t absorb heat. This leads to inefficient and costly low airflow. Second, as the ice thaws, it creates condensation that the system design doesn’t account for, leading to destructive leaks that can damage your property.
While a clogged air filter is a common cause of frozen evaporator coils, there are a few other things that can cause this issue. If you do have a frozen evaporator coil, you should call an HVAC professional to determine the actual cause, even if it seems likely that the air filter is the cause. You may injure yourself or cause further damage if you try to thaw the evaporator coil on your own.
Frozen coils don’t just affect your central AC - they can also cause trouble for your heat pump, causing it to work harder and wear out faster. The restricted air flow also places additional strain on the air handler fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor and cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail. Filter replacement is a small price to pay to extend to life of one of the biggest financial investments in your home.
HVAC Inefficiency Will Cause Your Energy Bills to Rise
As stated above, when your HVAC system’s air filter gets too dirty, the fans and pumps have to work that much harder to circulate the right amount of air at the correct temperature. Changing your air filter regularly maintains the proper airflow throughout your home and system, and can help keep your monthly utility bills low.
As you can see, your air filter affects a lot more than just the air quality in your home. Maintaining an HVAC system is an expensive aspect of owning a home, and by changing your filters when you should, you can avoid breakdowns that lead to costly repairs and maintain consistent energy bills. Not sure how often you should change your filter?