The short answer to this is, “yes.” We’ll elaborate more below!
Too many homeowners think that the only reason they should care about their HVAC system’s air filter is due to the allergens and particles in their indoor air. But this is only partially true.
A dirty air filter isn’t a problem necessarily due to indoor air quality problems. When a technician recommends that you change yours out ever 1-3 months, it’s not so you’ll breathe easier—it’s so that the airflow going into your air conditioner won’t be restricted, and that debris won’t reach the interior components of the air conditioner itself.
Sure, helping your indoor air quality is a small benefit of this type of air filter, but that’s not the air filter’s primary job. Read on to learn more, and to learn how a dirty air filter actually impacts your cooling system.
Risking Your Comfort
The HVAC system air filter exists between the intake air register and the rest of your HVAC system. If that air filter gets too clogged up with dirt, dust, and other debris, then air won’t properly be circulated through the vents. Essentially, you won’t have enough air to stay cool (or warm, if you’re reading this when temperatures are cooler). As a result, you won’t feel as comfortable in your home.
Another thing a dirty air filter can do is create hot or cold spots throughout the home since overall airflow will be disrupted.
Risking AC Damage
The way your air conditioner functions is by absorbing heat from the air within your living space. As the refrigerant evaporates within the indoor condenser unit, the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blowing over the coil. However, if the air filter is too clogged with debris, warm air is restricted and the coil can freeze over.
Perhaps a bit ironically, a frozen coil can’t absorb heat, and as a result, your home will suffer from low airflow. Additionally, as the ice thaw, the water has nowhere to go but into your property.
This said, a frozen evaporator coil can have a couple of possible causes. If you notice this problem, you should call an HVAC professional regardless of whether or not your air filter is clogged, since trying to thaw out an evaporator coil by yourself could lead to further damage, however unintentional.
If an air filter is too clogged up, the blower fan has to work harder to bring in the right amount of air. Changing your air filter every 1-3 months regularly restores the proper airflow through the ventilation system, and as a result, this can keep your monthly energy bills at a reasonable level.
Risking Irreversible Damage
The fact is, your forced air cooling system is designed to take in a certain amount of air each time it goes through a cycle. So if a clogged air filter is blocking airflow, the components of your HVAC system have to work harder just to do their job. This means wear and tear will be accelerated, and your HVAC system might fail you when you need it the most.