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AC Trouble? Your Air Filter Could be To Blame

Air Conditioning

nsplashThe air filter in your home heating and air system does more than just keep allergens out of the air. While it can assist in keeping your symptoms from acting up, the air filter was actually first designed for a different purpose. The blower fan must first suck air into the air conditioning and heating system before it can recirculate in your home at the proper temperature. But without a filter in place, it could also suck in some large particles that could damage the indoor blower unit. But it doesn’t work when it’s dirty! A dirty filter should still keep large particles away from the indoor portions of your system and protect them from this type of damage. But a dirty air filter can still cause significant trouble for your system.

Bad Air Filter Problems

The problem is that your air conditioner and your furnace were both designed to take in a certain amount of airflow. When there is a drop in the amount of air coming into the system, it cannot perform the way it was designed to. However, it will still try to provide your home with the same cooling and heating output it is supposed to, and this can force the parts to become overworked.

When the air filter is too dirty, the fan works harder and harder to keep you comfortable. The compressor can get overworked as well, and any minor mechanical issues within the unit get worse and worse. Quickly, something as simple as dirt becomes the reason an HVAC system cannot keep you comfortable, needs repairs, or, at worst, breaks down.

Sure, a clogged or dirty air filter may seem like a minor issue, but the fact of the matter is that it impacts a lot for your cooling system. Changing your air filter is actually a pretty simple task, and benefits your AC in many ways. Of course, when you do need air conditioning repair, we will be there in a heartbeat. But we would like to help you avoid future problems, or paying more for your cooling costs than you should be.

Don’t Neglect Your Air Filter!

When your air filter—in place to protect the inside components of your HVAC system, not to protect your indoor air quality like so many believe to be the case—is dirty or clogged, you’ll end up paying for it in more ways than one. Here’s what neglecting your air filter can result in:

  • You Paying More to Cool Your Home: Leaving a dirty air filter in your AC system longer than it should be there will be detrimental to your cooling system, and therefore your cooling Your air conditioner has to force conditioned air through the filter if it has any chance of cooling your home. So if that filter is too dirty, the AC will have much more difficulty than it should in doing its job. This will result in the system using more energy than it would otherwise have too, and eventually this will reflect itself in higher cooling costs.
  • Putting Unnecessary Wear and Tear on Your System: Adding to the above point, since your air conditioner will have to work harder to do its job, it will accumulate wear and tear faster. AC systems suffer from general wear and tear over the course of a cooling season anyway, but if you force it to work harder than its necessary by leaving a dirty filter in place, you could reduce its lifespan, and find yourself calling for emergency repairs as components wear down trying to do their job.
  • You Will Be Less Comfortable: When a system has too dirty of an air filter in it, that system can overheat. This leads to short-cycling, the name given to the process in which the system turns on and off too rapidly, too frequently. This won’t allow you to evenly and effectively cool your living space—overexerting your system and paying more for less overall comfort.

How Do I Change My Air Filter?

Depending on the make and model of your air conditioner, changing the filter can vary slightly. But for any system, you’ll first want to make sure the system is off. Then you’ll be able to locate your filter, usually in the return air duct or blower compartment before the return air reaches the air handler.

From there, you may see a series of clips holding the air filter in place. You can simply remove the old filter from here, and slide in the new one. If you have a permanent air filter (which we don’t typically recommend due to the risk of excessive moisture) you can clean it with a light-powered hose, wait for it to thoroughly dry, and then replace is.

If you discover that your air filter is clean, but your cooling system isn’t performing as it should, then it is of course time to give us a call. We’re standing by and ready to help!

Don’t hesitate to contact the team at Advanced Home Services if you have any concerns about your air conditioner’s performance. We can be reached online or by calling us at 208-745-9406.

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