Forgetting to check in on your AC unit is easy – until it stops working. Clogged air filters are one of the leading causes of HVAC complications or, in extreme cases, failures.
At Air Tech of Katy, we want you to get the most from your HVAC investment and stay protected from the heat and humidity for as long as possible! Keeping up with your unit’s air filter is the first step to a comfortable home, no matter the weather.
Air Filters 101: What To Know
Each standard disposable air filter protects your HVAC unit from harmful particulates in the air. Without a filter, they may damage the system or prevent it from operating properly. The filter, made of pleated paper or fiberglass and a cardboard frame, acts as a protective barrier between your unit and harmful items in the air that would otherwise reach sensitive components.
Higher efficiency air filters provide a thicker barrier to also protect you from breathing dirty air. Meaning, they prevent the following particles and contaminants from circulating throughout your home:
- Hair and animal fur
- Viruses, and more
Manufacturers often recommend changing air filters every two to three months. Upgrading to a high-efficiency filter and any pet(s) indoors require filters to be changed more often. They trap more debris and become clogged more quickly.
Consequences of Using Dirty Filters
As an HVAC filter does its job, capturing dust and debris, it will fill up over time. Neglecting to change it will cause contaminants stuck in the filter to build up beyond what it’s designed to accommodate. This creates a thick barrier that air cannot flow through, which can affect your health and cause many problems for your home’s entire HVAC system.
Lower Indoor Air Quality
When air cannot flow through a clogged filter’s screen, it will find ways around it. So, instead of trapping unwanted air particles, they will accumulate in your ducts and circulate directly into the air you breathe. Leaving a dirty filter in your unit will allow old contaminants to circulate through your system and won’t catch new ones. This continuously lowers the quality of air in your home.
Breathing in those harmful contaminants can cause chronic allergies, headaches, and dizziness. With that being said, this is especially dangerous for asthma sufferers. And long-term exposure can cause respiratory diseases, heart disease, or cancer.
Unusually High Energy Bills
Restricted airflow makes your unit work harder to push the appropriate amount of air through the system to cool or heat your home. When the unit works harder and runs longer to maintain the set temperature, it consumes more electricity than it would with a clean filter.
According to the Department of Energy, HVAC energy usage can increase 15% when your unit runs with a clogged filter. This increase in energy consumption will raise your utility bill, costing you more money for (almost) the same results.
HVAC Unit Breakdowns
Dust buildup on moving parts and restricted airflow will wear out your system as the motors work harder than they were designed to. Various parts will begin to break, and replacement component costs can quickly add up.
The longer your unit strains to evenly distribute dirty air, the more likely it is to break down completely, prematurely. HVAC units experiencing normal use can last up to 20 years, but that timeline can be shortened by 10 years for units struggling to operate with a clogged air filter. The cost of an entirely new unit and installation can range from $4,000 to $9,000 – a high price to pay compared to the cost of a new air filter.
Poor Temperature Regulation
In addition to rising utility and repair costs, your home may not feel as comfortable when airflow is limited to your HVAC unit. The layer of dust and dirt on a clogged air filter restricts the amount of air it can take in and push out, suffocating the system. Without proper airflow, your unit cannot send the correct amount of air where it’s needed.
This results in rooms that are hotter or cooler than the temperature you set using your thermostat.
TLC For Your AC
It’s never too late to start showing your AC some love for all the hard work it does to keep you comfy. Checking your HVAC air filter once a month will help your unit operate as efficiently as possible and preserve your system’s life.
Scheduling annual preventative maintenance with our professional technicians is the best way to monitor your unit’s needs. Our team can answer questions you may have about what type of filter you should use or how often you should change it, and provides services for AC repair, replacement, installation, and more.
Contact Air Tech of Katy today!