Air filters in heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems don’t last forever. While available in different materials, sizes and filtration ratings, they all require changing. Your HVAC system’s air filter will remove pollutants from the air. Over time, these pollutants will accumulate within the fibers of the air filter. Failure to change a dirty air filter such as this could cost you in more ways than one.
Longer Cooling Cycles
With a dirty air filter, you can expect longer cooling cycles when running the air conditioning system. A cooling cycle is a period for which an air conditioning system runs. Most cooling cycles last for about 10 to 20 minutes. After turning on, for instance, a typical air conditioning system will run for up to 20 minutes before turning off.
Several factors can affect the length of cooling cycles. If your air conditioning system is too small for your home, it will experience long cooling cycles. A dirty air filter can cause long cooling cycles as well. It will restrict airflow through the ducts, so your air conditioning system won’t be able to efficiently cool your home. And with longer cooling cycles, you’ll have to pay more to cool your home this summer.
Increased Wear and Tear on Fans
Your air conditioning system’s fans will be exposed to greater wear and tear with a dirty air filter. Air conditioning systems have two fans: a blower near the evaporator coil and a condenser fan in the outdoor unit.
Whenever your air conditioning system is running, both of these fans will spin. If you have the fan set to “ON” at the thermostat, the blower near the evaporator coil will run indefinitely – or at least until you switch the thermostat back to the “AUTO” fan setting. Regardless, a dirty air filter can take a toll on your air conditioning system’s fans.
There’s the potential for frozen coils with a dirty air filter. The condenser coil and evaporator coil rely on proper airflow to facilitate the transfer heat. Coils are heat exchangers that, like other heat exchangers, work by transferring heat.
If you haven’t changed the air filter in several months, airflow may be restricted. Dirty air filters create resistance. They slow down the speed at which air flows through them. And with restricted airflow, you may discover frozen coils. Frozen coils are a concern because they can damage your air conditioning system’s compressor. The compressor may fail if your air conditioning system’s coils freeze up, in which case you’ll have to pay to fix or replace the compressor.