A dirty air filter can be to blame if your central air conditioning unit hasn’t been working the way it should lately. A host of problems can occur with this filth and, in the most extreme case, the complete breakdown of your AC.
If your AC is still working, licensed technicians can take a look at your air filter and clean or replace it if necessary. If it’s too late, and your air conditioning unit has already suffered a breakdown, you can get help for that too. Worst-case scenario, you may need a new AC unit.
Problems a Dirty AC Air Filter Can Cause
The filter on an air conditioning unit is an incredibly important part that cleans the air that comes into it. Cleaning the filter regularly, and changing it when it becomes un-cleanable, is crucial to ensuring a long and energy-efficient life. Some of the issues a dirty AC filter can cause include:
Individuals with allergies are only going to suffer if the AC’s air filter is not regularly cleaned. This is because the allergens built inside the unit eventually loosen and blow into the air that is breathed in. If you have pets or regularly use chemical cleaning products, the dander, cleaning particles, dust and other debris can become trapped in the filter and later released into the air.
If you leave the filter dirty for too long, it can also accrue moisture, which can then lead to a mold infestation. Mold is a health hazard regardless of if you suffer from allergies or not.
When the air filter is dirty, the air conditioning unit struggles to run efficiently. As a result, parts work harder than usual and ultimately break down before their time. Not only will this require you to pay for a unit repair, but you might even have to replace it before it has lived out its normal lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
Short cycling is the process where the air conditioner keeps turning on and turning off again, every five minutes or so, all day long. While an air conditioner should normally cycle on when it senses an increase in temperature, and off when it has sufficiently cooled the room off, short cycles can occur when you have a dirty air filter.
A clogged filter, which is particularly apparent in a central air conditioning unit, is when the machine has to work harder to push air through it. As a result, hot and cool spots appear throughout your home, rather than an even temperature.
Higher Energy Bills
When your system is working twice as hard to cool off your house, that means that it is utilizing twice as much energy. Energy isn’t free. If you do not perform regular maintenance on your AC’s air filter, you may eventually notice a problem in the form of higher monthly energy bills.
When you leave an AC unit’s air filter clogged for too long, you can experience a failure of the entire system. This is because the unit can only work for so long at twice the power before it finally breaks down. This can end up costing you a pretty penny for repairs and potentially thousands of dollars for a replacement.
How You Can Maintain Your AC Filter
While dirty air filters can stop an AC from working, there are many ways to keep your air conditioner well taken care of and working efficiently for a longer time. All you need to do is clean or replace the filter regularly, depending on the type of filter.
Cleaning a Reusable Air Filter
If your air conditioner uses a reusable air filter, you don’t necessarily have to buy a new filter every time it gets dirty. You should be washing it at least once a month.
To clean your reusable air filter, remove the filter from the AC unit and rinse it in a tub or sink with warm water. In order to remove all the sticky particles on the filter, you can use a mild detergent and a gentle brush. Shake the filter after washing it to drain excess water that may be trapped in the filter and then leave it to air dry before returning it to the AC unit.
Replacing a Disposable Filter
If your air conditioner unit uses a disposable filter, change it regularly. An experienced maintenance team can install a new one so you don’t run the risk of damaging the delicacy of the filter.
It’s recommended that you replace the disposable filter every month. However, how often you do this depends on the type and quality of the filter used.
What if Your Air Filter Looks Clean When It’s Time to Change It?
When it’s time to change your AC filter, around 1 to 3 months after you installed a new one, it should look dirty with an apparent build up of dust. If your filter looks clean and it’s been in place for the recommended time, you should check:
- How the filter is fitting into the holder: If the filter is loose or too small for the space, the air can circulate around it instead of going through it.
- If the filter is installed upside down: There is a correct air-flow direction for most air filters. Arrows indicated on the filter frame should point toward the fan.
- If the filter you’re using is the correct one: Low-end filters are not going to catch much dust. A filter with a higher MERV rating, however, will increase the air cleaning efficiency.
- The rate of air exchange: If your unit is working properly, it should run for about 15 minutes per cycle, with a rate of no more than three in an hour. If it runs shorter than this, there’s a possibility it isn’t creating the desired rate of air exchange. A professional will need to check your system.
Your home and how often you run the AC can also affect how dirty your air filter gets. If your home is well sealed, you have no pets, no dust-prone furnishings or carpet, and you vacuum every day, your air filters will have fewer air-born particles to collect.
Has a Dirty Air Filter Got Your AC Unit Down? Call Ambient Edge!
Ambient Edge offers preventative maintenance contracts so that you never have to worry about a dirty air filter ruining your air conditioner’s performance. When you sign a preventative maintenance contract, we visit you twice a year to check on your system and ensure that everything is working as it should.
However, if it’s too late and you’re already experiencing issues due to a dirty air filter, give us a call. We provide a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee on all our parts and labor. And we’re here for you whenever you need us, 24/7.
Give us a call or submit your information via the contact form on our website. Reach out to Ambient Edge today, and get back to enjoying that sweeter, cleaner, cooler air once again.