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Schaal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Blog

How a Dirty Air Filter Affects Your AC

filterMy air conditioner starts up when it should start, and it cools down my home when I want it to. Well, for the most part. Well, it starts up, but then it shuts down pretty quickly. But it still cools my home. You know. Mostly.

Let us stop you right there and ask a question. If your car started up, didn’t really run too well, and shut down unexpectedly on you, would you feel safe jumping in for a ride? We’re betting that the answer is no, even if you like to live with a bit of adventure here and there.

Why, then, would you put up with that kind of a performance from your air conditioning system? If you ask us, as you should when it comes to all things HVAC in Altoona, IA, you deserve a lot more than that. And something that too few people seem to realize is that many problems are actually caused by homeowners themselves, as they fail to change their air filters as needed.

Why Is the Air Filter So Important?

We ask this question deliberately, because too many homeowners have the wrong idea. The point of the air filter that is in your air conditioning system is not really to boost the air quality throughout your home. This type of filter is not efficient enough for that task. Instead, the air filter in your AC is there to protect your air conditioner itself from problems caused by pollutants in your indoor air.

If pollutants are allowed to build up on vital components in your HVAC system, then the system won’t be able to function as well as it should. The evaporator coil, for instance, could get very dirty, and could then inhibit the heat transfer process. But what happens when the filter is too dirty?

Problems Caused by Dirty Air Filters

Your air conditioner is going to cost much more to run than it should if it has a dirty filter in place. The dirtier the filter, the greater the airflow resistance in the system is going to be. The greater the airflow resistance, the harder the system will have to work. That not only drives up energy costs, but it also puts a lot of strain on your system.

That strain can cause the system to short cycle. It can begin to overheat due to that strain, and then it cycles down to avoid damage. This is called short cycling. Not only does short cycling drive up energy costs further, because it requires more energy to start a system up than it does to keep it running, but it also greatly increases the risk of damages to your system. All of that starting and stopping generates a lot of wear and tear that your system otherwise wouldn’t be put up against.

Filters are cheap, and filters are very easy to install. Clean filters help ACs to succeed. It’s just that simple.

Schedule your air conditioning services with Schaal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.

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