The HVAC air filter plays a major role in keeping your energy bills low, ensuring better indoor air quality (IAQ) and lengthening the life of your cooling and heating systems. When the filter is covered with dust, the airflow slows through the air handler. It may create any of these problems throughout your system:
- Dust inside the air handler. When filter is covered with dust, the air handler pulls it inside and it can cover internal components. Should the blower motor get covered with dust, it will run hotter, which shortens its life. The airborne particulates also can cover the evaporator coil through which the refrigerant flows. Dust covering the coil acts as insulation, slowing the heat-exchange process. It takes longer for the refrigerant to remove the heat from the air blowing over it, which increases the length of time it takes to cool your home.
- Reduced air delivery. Less air going through the air handler translates into reduced air delivery through the ducts, increasing the time it takes to cool your home.
- Dirty ductwork. In a system whose HVAC air filter isn’t changed often enough, dust and dirt can collect inside the ductwork that will have a negative impact on IAQ. Depending on the type and quality of the filter, it will trap various particulates including dust, mold spores, pet dander and pollen. When it’s dirty, those particulates blow into the ducts and circulate throughout your home’s air, degrading indoor air quality.
- Frozen coil. Should the amount of air blowing over the coil get low enough, the humidity in the air may freeze on the coil, which has serious ramifications for your entire cooling system. If the A/C doesn’t turn off, the refrigerant going back to the compressor may still be a liquid, seriously damaging the compressor, the system’s most expensive part.
- Water damage. As the frost melts, it can overwhelm the drain pan causing water damage anywhere near the air handler.
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