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dirty ac filter vs. clean ac filter

The #1 reason air conditioners fail early

Not doing this will greatly shorten the life of your AC.

Dirty Filter

Filter (left) from compressor failed unit next to clean filter

We were called out to a home recently and what we found was disappointing.  This client had a 13 year old unit with a bad compressor.  Faced with the expense of changing a compressor on an old unit, the client chose to replace the unit.  We found that the client had not been changing their filter routinely and the resulting air flow restriction certainly led to extra strain on the air conditioning unit and ultimately to compressor failure.

Changing a home’s air system’s air filter is very important. Unchanged air filters are one of the leading causes of problems with heating and air conditioning systems. Air filters are not expensive, and making sure a clean filter is installed frequently can save money in the long run.

Damage to the system can occur when an overly clogged filter restricts air flow. When the air filter is blocked with debris, the fan motor has to work much harder to move air. This can lead to the motor wearing out much sooner than it normally would.  Also without proper air movement across the coils the AC will run much longer to try and cool or heat the home.  This of course will lead to higher electric bills and potentially shorten the life of the air conditioning unit.

In the worst possible cases, a completely blocked filter can cause a heater to overheat. This can lead to cracking of elements of the heating system and lead to a large replacement bill. Even worse, it could lead to fire. A complete lack of air flow traps heat around the parts of the heater. Extreme cases of overheating may cause a loss far more significant than just the air conditioning system.

It is often suggested that you replace your filter monthly, however our suggestion is to replace your filter whenever it is necessary.  How do you know when it is necessary?  Keep replacements on hand, and when it looks dirty, change it.  The environmental conditions in every home is different, some homes have lots of sources for dust and dirt to enter the home such as air leaks from the attic, pets, foot traffic in and out of the home, fiber from rugs, and more, so it cannot be determined except on a case by case basis exactly how often a filter should be changed.  After a couple cycles of you changing your filter when you see it is dirty, you can then get into a cycle that is right for your home.

Of course, professional routine maintenance is the best way to ensure the overall health, safety, and longevity of your air conditioning unit and you can help by keeping the filters changed as needed.

Do you need to get the AC unit in your Tampa home checked out? Call The Comfort Authority [company-phone-number] and get started today!

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