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How a Dirty HVAC Air Filter Creates Problems

outdoor-air-conditioning-unitMarch is a strange time for the weather in the Central Valley. It’s hard to predict the swings in temperature, which can run into near-summer warmth only to drop back to the lowest points of winter. It’s an important month for the transition between heating season and cooling season: you need to have a furnace in good shape and an air conditioning system ready for the heavy work ahead.

No matter which forced-air comfort system you use the most during March, there’s a component the two systems have in common that requires special attention, the air filter. This filter must be changed on a regular basis as part of ongoing heating and air conditioning maintenance.

What Does the Air Filter Do?

The air filter is usually located where the return air ducts meet the HVAC cabinet, right beside the blower fan. What the mesh filter does is prevent debris coming through the return ducts from getting into the blower fan and the rest of the cabinet. This protects the furnace and air conditioner’s internal components, such as the refrigerant coil, gas burners, and motors.

What it’s not there to do is clean a home’s air. It may help a bit with removing airborne contaminants, but not enough to make a noticeable difference. If you’re interested in air filtration for improved indoor air quality, the best approach is to have our technicians install special filters into the ventilation system.

Problems a Dirty Air Filter Causes

It doesn’t take long for a filter to become congested with the debris it traps: depending on the filter type, it will need to be changed every 1 to 3 months. If a dirty filter is left in place, it can create these problems:

  • A drop in energy efficiency: The blower fan motor must work harder to draw sufficient air through a clogged filter. This will result in a rise in the cost to run the HVAC system, regardless of whether you have the furnace or the AC running.
  • Reduced airflow: As the clogged filter chokes off the air, the airflow through the ventilation system will drop. This will have a negative effect on comfort around the house.
  • Damage to the HVAC system: When a filter becomes thickly clogged, it will start to stretch and distort against the force of the blower fan. This allows dust and debris to get around the filter and into the cabinet, leading to trouble with the motors, frozen refrigerant coils, and more.

If you aren’t sure about how to change the air filter of your HVAC system, ask for our assistance during your spring air conditioning maintenance in Madera, CA. Changing the filter is a basic part of professional maintenance, and when you’ve signed up for our Ultimate Service Agreement you’ll receive top quality AC and heating maintenance during the year. Our team will be glad to show you the steps necessary to change the filter on your own over the spring and summer. Contact us any day of the week to learn more about the details of the Ultimate Service Agreement.

Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning: Quality Is the Cornerstone of Our Success Since 1952.

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