If the air conditioner in your Cape Coral, FL home ever freezes up, overheats, or fails to cool your living space, the first thing to check is the air filter. HVAC air filters are simple and relatively low-cost components that homeowners can inspect and replace on their own. However, despite their basic designs, air filters have a tremendous impact on how well heating and cooling equipment works. Discover more about the consequences of clogged filters and the problems they can cause today.
What Air Filters Do and Why Keeping Them Clean Is So Important
HVAC air filters aren’t meant to make your indoor air cleaner. Although they do provide this benefit in a somewhat limited fashion, filters are primarily designed to protect the sensitive parts of your furnace and air conditioner. They capture and retain airborne debris before it has the chance to collect on air conditioner coils and other interior parts that would otherwise overheat, malfunction, or underperform. Changing your air filters is an essential step in preventing costly repairs and extending the lifespan of your heating and cooling equipment.
Dirty HVAC Air Filters Can Impact Your Health
Even though the primary role of air filters isn’t improving your indoor air quality (IAQ), filters do have a hand in keeping several common allergens and contaminants out of the air. If you’ve ever let your HVAC filter get excessively dirty before pulling it out, then you’ve already seen the thick, lint-like material that accumulates on it. Without regular filter changes, these same particulates could circulate throughout your home. Turning your HVAC system on with a dirty air filter can cause residents to experience:
- Itchy, watery eyese
- Coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory distress
- Sinus irritation
In addition to the many physical symptoms that residents are likely to contend with, you might also have persistent, unpleasant odors and dirty, dust-covered surfaces all throughout your home. Excessive debris on air filters will eventually break off and make its way into HVAC air ducts. You’ll find evidence of this on your HVAC air vents as thick, dark-colored build-ups of dust, dander, pollen, hair, and more.
HVAC Equipment Overheats When Air Filters Are Dirty
The more dirt and debris that an HVAC air filter accumulates, the harder your heating and cooling equipment must work to force air through it. This extra labor accelerates normal wear, shortens the lifespans of furnaces and air conditioners, and sets the stage for overheating. In many cases, an easy and effective way to troubleshoot an overheating AC is by simply replacing its air filter, letting it cool down, and then turning it back on again for a test run.
Dirty AC Filters and Short-Cycling
When heaters and air conditioners short-cycle, they turn on for several minutes and then rapidly turn themselves back off. More often than not, this is an indication of overheating. These rapid shutdowns are a protective measure that prevents motors from burning out entirely and staves off other forms of heat-related equipment damage.
In some instances, short-cycling is a sign that heaters or air conditioners are far too large for their service areas. However, if your furnace or AC has never short-cycled before and has only now started running in quick, limited bursts, it’s probably because your air filter is dirty.
A Consistently Dirty Air Filter Will Cause Your Energy Bill to Rise
If you’re having a hard time figuring out why your home energy bill is higher when your habits and household size haven’t changed, check your air filter. The extra work that heaters and air conditioners must do when their filters are dirty translates as additional energy use. Unfortunately, this is hardly the only way that dirty filters can hurt your pockets. Without regular filter changes, you’ll have more frequent repair bills, and you may need to replace your HVAC equipment a lot sooner than expected.
Increased Indoor Humidity
Anything that compromises airflow in your HVAC system can result in increased humidity. Elevated levels of moisture create the perfect conditions for mold and mildew development. They can also make the indoor air feel muggy.
We proudly service homeowners throughout Cape Coral and the surrounding communities. We provide heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services. We also offer pool heaters, pool pumps, and dehumidifiers. To schedule professional HVAC system maintenance, give Ultimate Homes & Cooling a call now.