When it comes to air conditioning, a clean filter is essential for proper functioning. A dirty filter restricts the flow of cold air, leading to ice formation on the coils and higher than normal utility bills. According to the Department of Energy, a clogged filter can cause a 15% increase in energy consumption. If left unchecked, the filter can become so clogged that it is absorbed by the HVAC system, posing a fire hazard to the ventilation.
The air filter traps particles within its fibers, keeping them out of the HVAC system and protecting your family and equipment. When replacing a reusable filter, make sure to do so when the air conditioner isn't in use, such as on a cold night. Sliding a wet filter back into the air conditioner can cause icing and other problems, and trying to dry the filter can damage its delicate surface. If you don't have a new replacement filter on hand, wait until you do before removing the existing one.
If you're having problems with your air conditioner, it's likely due to a clogged filter. To prevent this from happening, keep the air filter clean and always make sure it is in place before operating the system. That layer of dirt and dust restricts the amount of air the air conditioner can “breathe”, meaning there is less cold air to cool the house. Failure to clean or change the air conditioner filter can cause a lot of problems, but many people don't incorporate it into their regular routine.
When purchasing a replacement filter, make sure to get one from your air conditioner manufacturer rather than a one-size-fits-all model from a hardware store. The main purpose of an air conditioning filter is to clean the air circulating in the system. Although your air conditioning system will continue to operate without a filter, you should never attempt to do so. If you commit to changing your air filters regularly, you may notice that your breathing problems improve due to all the clean air you breathe.
Dirty filters also make your air conditioning system work harder to circulate fresh, clean air throughout your home.