The Problem with Clogged Air Filters

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The air filter in your heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) system cleans your indoor air as it circulates your home by removing dust, dirt, pet dander, and other allergens.

Keeping your A/C’s air filter clean is essential for you and your family’s health, comfort, and well-being.  

However, work, family life, and other responsibilities keep us preoccupied, making cleaning the A/C air filter the least of our priorities.

What Happens When Your HVAC Air Filters are Dirty?

Clogged air filters are the primary cause of air conditioning problems, yet the air filter is usually the most ignored part of the air conditioner.

When air filters are dirty, indoor air quality suffers, energy bills increase, and the A/C will fail eventually.

Since we are inside our homes most of the time, poor indoor air quality can lead to health problems in the long run, such as allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.  

An air conditioning filter

Your HVAC system also operates below average and does not cool your home as well as it should when your unit’s air filters are clogged. Your A/C must work harder and use more energy to compensate for the blocked airflow. Higher energy consumption means higher energy bills.

In addition to jacking up your utility bill, the reduced airflow can cause your heat exchanger to overheat, shut off quickly, and trip your system’s limit switch. If this happens, your HVAC system will stop working and need expensive repair.  

The simple task of cleaning and changing your air filter can reduce stress on your air conditioner, save you money on bills and repairs, make the temperature of your home comfortable, and improve your health.

Clogged Air Filter Problems

Most of us do not care about the A/C air filter until there is a problem. With air filters left unchecked, air conditioning problems can escalate and get worse in time. Dirty and clogged air filters result in these serious problems:

Unhealthy Indoor Air

Air filters catch dirt and debris and prevent them from circulating in the air so that you do not inhale them. Dust accumulates in the air filters. When air filters are dirty or clogged, indoor air quality suffers.  

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If you smoke, keep chemicals, own pets, or have construction projects in your house, the indoor air quality will worsen with clogged filters.

Allergens, dust, mold spores, and other air contaminants that clogged air filters let circulate throughout the air can result in flu-like symptoms, trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory conditions, and cause chronic allergies.

If you already observe unwanted health effects in yourself or other family members, consult a doctor, change your air filters, and invest in high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that remove air particulates and contaminants.

High Energy Bills

Your HVAC system recirculates air continuously. If air cannot flow through your air filter, your A/C’s blower fan has to work harder to circulate air throughout your home, thus increasing your energy consumption.

According to the Department of Energy, clogged air filters use 15% more energy than clean ones. Using more electricity in heating or cooling your home means your energy bill will be higher than usual.  

Regularly changing your air filter makes sure that air circulates well so that your HVAC system does not use more energy than needed. Changing your air filters can reduce your energy use by 5 to 15 percent.

Lower energy consumption means more savings on your energy bill.

Poor Cooling and Heating

Clogged air filters can cause uneven hot and cold temperatures in your home. Even when the blower fan works double-time to circulate air, clogged filters block the passage of enough air from your air conditioning unit to your room.

With reduced airflow, you can expect some areas of your to be hotter than others. Aside from hot and cold spots, it will be difficult for your room to retain the indoor temperature you want.

Clogged air filters are the primary reason as to why your room is too cold, despite the furnace being on or too hot while the air A/C is set to the lowest temperature.

If your HVAC system is not cooling or heating to your desired temperature, check your air filters and have them cleaned or replaced immediately.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

If you notice ice forming in your evaporator coils, especially during the summer months, clogged air filters can be the culprit.

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Water from condensation that should drip into the drain pan during the cooling process freezes instead. The cold air that cannot move well across the coil freezes the water from condensation.

Instead of removing heat from the air to cool your room, your HVAC system cannot perform its intended function due to frozen coils. Even worse, your A/C may breakdown and fail in the middle of sweltering summer heat because of frozen evaporator coils.

HVAC Shutdown

Clogged air filters can cause costly internal damage to your HVAC system when an overworked air blower overheats, breaks down, and causes the HVAC system to stop working.

Clogged air filters also wear out your A/C parts faster than usual, shorten your HVAC system’s life, and result in additional maintenance and repair costs.

How to Clean Dirty Air Filters

Cleaning your air filter is a simple task that prevents HVAC system problems from happening. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Take the air filter out of your HVAC system. You can find it in the blower compartment.
  • Remove the dust and dirt from the air filter.
  • Run the air filter under warm water thoroughly.
  • Dry the air filter before reinstalling it.

If you still experience problems with your AC after cleaning or replacing your air filter, contact a qualified HVAC professional immediately.

Contact Home Comfort USA for Air Filter Check and Air Conditioning Maintenance

To replace the air filters of your HVAC system, diagnose, and repair other problems brought by clogged air filters, schedule an air conditioning maintenance with an HVAC professional.

At Home Comfort USA, our HVAC experts will inspect your HVAC system to ensure that it is running efficiently. We will check, clean, change your air filters, and perform a 32-point check-up to give your unit utmost care and keep it running adequately.  

For fast and reliable HVAC system installation, repair, and maintenance services in Anaheim, Orange County, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, and other areas in Southern California, call Home Comfort USA at (888) 462-0089 or schedule an appointment today. 

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