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What Happens When You Don’t Change or Clean your AC Air Filter

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Your air conditioning’s air filter plays a major role in keeping your conditioned air free of dust, dirt, and other contaminants, so you should keep it in its best condition at all times. If you haven’t had this AC component checked, cleaned, or replaced in a while, it may be time to do so. A dirty air filter causes various problems that will require a professional AC repair service in Tyler, TX.

In this blog, we will discuss how an air filter works, what happens when you keep your AC with a dirty air filter running, and how to change/clean the filter.

How Does an Air Conditioner Air Filter Work?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. These air impurities can wreak havoc on your health once you inhale them. The job of your air conditioner’s air filter is to trap all these nasty particles so they don’t get inside your home or room, leaving you with cleaner, breathable air. 

Air filters come in several types: disposable filters, electrostatic filters, washable filters, HEPA filters, media filters, pleated filters, and spun glass filters, to mention a few. While all these filters are designed to trap air contaminants, they still have differences. For example, disposable filters must be “disposed of” once dirty, while the washable type can be cleaned and re-used. The HEPA filters can last for months. 

Air filters also differ in terms of efficiency. Spun filters can only trap particles that are about 3.0 to 10.0 microns in size, so they aren’t very good at purifying the air. HEPA filters, on the other hand, can trap most pollutants, big or small in size. 

Since you may have to replace your air filter, it’s best to learn more about each type of filter available. This will also allow you to find the filter that fits you and your unit’s requirements.

AC Problems Caused by a Dirty Air Filter

Dust, dirt, and other particles in the air trapped in the air filter will not magically disappear. When you don’t check and clean or replace your air filter, dirt and dust will accumulate on it over time. It can lead to a host of issues requiring AC repair service in Tyler, TX. Here are some of them:

1) Allergen Build-up

When the air filter is too dirty to trap more air contaminants, your indoor air quality can suffer. It can be a big problem if you or anyone in your home suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. Poor indoor air quality can aggravate allergies and other respiratory illnesses.

2) Blocked Airflow

A clogged air filter will also restrict airflow. Insufficient airflow means your AC system must work harder to cool your home. As a result, it will use more energy, and your utility bills will be higher. Additionally, this can put unnecessary stress on the system, leading to parts breaking down prematurely. You may end up with expensive AC repair Tyler, TX.

3) Ice Build-up

When there is insufficient airflow over the evaporator coils, they can get too cold, and ice can build up on them. The ice will thaw once you turn your air conditioning unit off and may cause a water leak. If left unrepaired, it can damage your system and your home. It’s not only a huge inconvenience, but it can also be expensive to repair the damage caused by the ice.

4) Reduced Efficiency

A clogged air filter will cause your AC unit to work harder than it needs to. This wastes energy, raises your utility bills and puts extra strain on the system, leading to premature wear and tear.

5) Overheating

One of the most common reasons for an air conditioner to overheat is due to dirty air filters. When the air filters are clogged with dirt and debris, it restricts the airflow and causes the AC unit to work harder. This can lead to the unit overheating and eventually breaking down.

Among the components that may overheat is the compressor. The compressor is one of the most vital components of your AC unit. If dirt and debris are allowed to build up on the coils and other parts of the system, it can cause the compressor to overheat and eventually fail. This is a very expensive repair that can often be avoided by simply changing the air filter regularly.

6) General Wear & Tear

Dirty filters can cause many problems, from decreased efficiency to ice build-up. But even if those things don’t happen, the debris can still damage the delicate components of your AC unit over time. This will lead to premature wear and tear, which can shorten the lifespan of your system.

All these issues require costly AC repair Tyler, TX. But you can easily prevent them by regularly cleaning and replacing the air filter.

How To Change/Clean Your Air Filter

Cleaning or changing the HVAC’s air filter is one of the things you can handle yourself. You don’t need specialized tools or skills, only the right knowledge. Below are a few tips when cleaning or replacing the filter:

Learn the type of filter your system uses.

Air filters come in many types, as mentioned above, and in many sizes. When it’s time to replace your air filter, use a compatible type. You can find this information in your system’s owner’s manual. Don’t just get and use an AC filter you think will work best for your unit because it might lead to AC repair Tyler, TX.

If you don’t have the manual, look for the filter size and type on the existing filter. Most types of filters will be clearly labeled with this information.

Choose a MERV rating.

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rates how well an air filter captures particles. A higher MERV rating means better particle removal and cleaner indoor air. However, keep in mind that air filters with high MERV ratings may restrict air flow, which can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Check the condition of your existing filter. 

Before you go through the effort of changing or cleaning your air filter, assess its condition first. Carefully remove the filter from the HVAC system and hold it against a light. If the light does not pass through the washable filter, it means the filter needs cleaning.

Replace/clean the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the filter is clean, but you’re still unhappy with your indoor air quality, try a filter with a higher MERV rating.

Clean or replace the filter as needed.

You can start cleaning the air filter by using a hand vacuum to remove any obvious dirt or debris and a microfiber cloth to clean the frames. Afterward, you can rinse the filter gently. Finally, let the filter dry completely before reinstalling it. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning or replacing your air filter.

And that’s it! Cleaning or changing your air filter is a quick and easy way to prevent most AC repairs Tyler, TX and keep your unit in great shape. 

How Often Should You Replace or Clean Your Air Filter

The frequency with which you should replace or clean your air filter depends on a few factors, such as the following:

  • The type of air filter you have
  • The size of your home
  • The number of people in your household
  • Your pets
  • Smokers in the household
  • Whether or not you have allergies

Generally speaking, if you have a standard pleated furnace air filter, you should replace it every 3 months. If you have a high-efficiency air filter, you can probably go 4-6 months between replacements. However, these are just general guidelines – ultimately, it’s best to check your air filter monthly and replace or clean it as needed.

Haven’t Changed Your Air Filter For Months? Call Us!

Not everyone has the time and skills to change an air filter, and that’s okay! We’re here to help.

If you haven’t changed your air filter in months (or even years), it’s time to call us. We’ll come out and take care of it for you so you can breathe easy again.

At Napps Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, we have a team of highly trained and experienced HVAC technicians who can change your air filter quickly and easily. We know how important it is to have a clean air filter, so we’ll make sure it’s done right.

We also offer AC repair Tyler, TX. So if your dirty air filter has already damaged your unit, we can also fix the problem.  Our technician can fix all kinds of AC problems, so you can count on them to get your unit back up and running in no time. 

You can also depend on our technician for many other HVAC services. We also do plumbing, so you can have a one source of top-quality services to keep your indoor environment comfortable and functional. 

If you want to learn more about our team or need an AC repair Tyler, TX, please do not hesitate to call our team at 903-758-6482.

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