2 Potential Problems Caused By Your Central Air Conditioner's Dirty Filter
When you depend on a central air conditioning unit to keep your home cool and comfortable, part of maintaining the system is changing the air filter at least once a month. If you neglect this important step, you run the risk of facing the following potential problems with your unit.
1. Air Coming Through Your Vents Is Reduced
One of the first problems you may notice when you have a dirty air filter is a decrease in the flow of air coming from your home's vents. Because the air is not able to travel freely through a filter that is clogged up with dirt, dust, and pollen, the amount of cool air coming into your house will be significantly reduced.
Along with decreased air flow through your vents, you may also notice a constant light flow of air coming from them. Since your home's thermostat will register that the interior air is not cool enough, it will keep sending a signal to the air conditioner to keep running in an attempt to decrease the temperature. This will result in higher energy bills, as well as excessive wear on your AC unit that could make it fail completely, requiring you to have a new one installed.
2. Air Conditioner Freezes Up
Even if you do not feel a strong current of air coming out of your vents, your air conditioner will still produce cold air. However, since the filter is blocking its flow, the majority of the frigid air will become trapped inside the AC unit.
Since the thermostat continues to signal the compressor to keep running, the trapped air inside the unit will only get colder. If there is any condensation inside, it will eventually freeze up, causing the air conditioner to stall and stop cooling your home until it thaws.
If your unit freezes up once or twice, this will usually not cause any irreparable damage. However, if it constantly freezes up, it could damage the compressor, making it necessary to replace your air conditioner.
If you cannot remember the last time you changed your central air conditioner's filter, you should seriously consider doing so as soon as possible to avoid any of the above scenarios. However, if you find that your air conditioner has been damaged beyond repair even after changing the dirty filter, contact an HVAC contractor who offers air conditioning replacement and installation service to discuss your options.