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First Choice Heating & Cooling Blog

The Impact of Dirty Air Filters on Your Air Conditioner


Your air conditioner is a forced air system. The air it pulls in helps pull heat from your home, while the output releases cool air, and the cycle continues until your home reaches the desired temperature. Sounds great, but it’s easy to put a wrench in the gears, so to speak.

Your heating and cooling system completely depends on that air intake. Without sufficient air coming in, well, there’s a few problems that can happen. Let’s talk about those.

Removes Harmful Pollutants From the Air

Your AC needs air intake to work, so it pulls in air through a filter. You kill two birds with one stone, because that filter also pulls harmful pollutants and debris from the air in your home.

After 30 days of use, look at your air filter. You’ll be amazed (and a little grossed out) at just how much it pulls out of the air.

Beyond affecting your indoor air quality, this also affects the air that cools your AC. You may be excited about all that dust and debris being removed from the air, but so is your air conditioner.

Reduces Impact of Dust on Evaporator Coil

Your air conditioner has an evaporator coil inside that air runs over when it’s pulled from your home. That evaporator coil is filled with refrigerant, and as your AC works, that refrigerant the cools air.

The warm air intake is important because it vaporizes as it absorbs that heat, then continues to move through the evaporator coil. If your AC runs without air intake, a crucial part of the process is missing. The cold temperature then builds up and can freeze your system.

If your evaporator coil is extremely dusty, that dust acts like insulation. Warm air can’t sufficiently vaporize the refrigerant, so it begins to freeze up instead of absorbing heat from the air.

With clean air filters, more air passes through than anything else. When your filters are dirty, your AC has to work harder, and the air pressure may increase enough that more particles are pulled through the filter, coating the coils and blocking that important transfer of warm air.

Lower Energy Consumption

The longer your air conditioner runs, the more power it uses (and it’s not exactly consuming low levels of power). If the air filter is dirty, your AC has to work more to pull in air, making it work harder. It may also have to run for longer than a standard cycle, applying additional wear and tear to the entire air conditioner.

Airflow is Everything

Without proper airflow, your air conditioner struggles and wears down much faster. If your air filters aren’t switched out often, it can lead to major breakdowns, expensive repairs, and a much shorter life for your entire air conditioner.

It sounds silly that a simple replaceable air filter can cause such a big impact across your entire system, we know, but as a forced air system, it couldn’t be more important. This is in your control to change out and inspect every month.

Contact First Choice Heating & Cooling today to schedule your air conditioner maintenance today. If your home had a voice … it would call First Choice! 

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