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Why Air Conditioners Need Clean Filters


My air conditioner is there to cool my home. It’s not an air purifier or anything. And besides, my indoor air quality seems okay. So why worry about the air filter? 

Because the air filter in your air conditioning system is not actually there to boost indoor air quality throughout your home, and there is a good chance that the dirty filter you’ve got in your AC right now is already causing problems for your system, even if you don’t realize it yet. That’s why.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at why a clean air filter is so important to your air conditioner and its performance, and how a dirty filter can really start to work against your system and your comfort. Ultimately, a very dirty filter can and will result in the need for AC repair in Durham, NC. You’ll need repairs eventually, but don’t encourage them!

Why Change Your Filter Regularly?

The purpose of the air filter in your air conditioner is to keep pollutants from building up on sensitive components within the air conditioner itself. You don’t want a bunch of dust and dirt caking your evaporator coil, for instance. If the filter in your system gets too dirty, though, the air coming into the system may actually bypass the filter and force through its mounting bracket. When that happens, you’re looking at an influx of pollutants into the system. Airflow will ultimately choose the path of least resistance if faced with a clogged up filter.

You should be changing your air filter every 1-3 months. Of course, there are a lot of different factors that will influence just how frequently you actually need to change your filter, including general cleanliness in your home and the presence of any pets. Check in on your filter regularly until you get a feel for how quickly it needs to be replaced.

What Happens to an AC with a Dirty Filter?

It works a lot harder than it should have to! And you know what happens when it works harder than it should have to? It uses more energy in the process. Think about it—do you go through more gas on the highway when you’re cruising at 55 or pushing it up to 75? The harder you go, the more fuel is consumed. That translates to your AC, too.

That excessive strain puts a lot of wear and tear on the system. Plus, airflow can decrease to the point where condensation collected on the coil can freeze. That creates an insulating barrier of ice that further impedes the heat transfer process, adding even more strain to the system. Short cycling can occur, driving up energy costs further while also increasing the risk of damage to your system.

Filters are cheap and they are very easy to install. We’ll change or clean yours during annual maintenance, but that one change a year is not enough. Make the right choice for your AC, and keep a fresh filter in place.

Schedule your AC services with Raleigh Heating & Air.

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