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Why Your Air Filter May Kill Your Air Conditioner This Summer

May 19th, 2014

Listen, we know life gets busy. So it’s easy to forget to do minor maintenance tasks around the home, especially in the summer.

But, if you forget to change your air conditioner’s air filter at least once a month, you may have a dead air conditioner on your hands.

According to ENERGY STAR, “A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.”

So, how in the world can a dirty air filter do all that? We’ll discuss why in this article.
Once you know why, you’ll hopefully be much more likely to remember to change it!

Why a dirty air filter is deadly to your air conditioner

Your air filter’s job is to keep pollution and debris out of your air conditioner. Basically, it’s safety net.

But once that filter gets clogged with dirt, it slows down airflow in your air ducts, making your central air conditioner work harder to cool your home.

To give you a more concrete way of thinking about it, imagine breathing with a thick sweater over your face.

Sure, there are holes for you to breathe through, but you have to put much more effort into breathing.  Well, that’s what it’s like for your air conditioner trying to move air with a dirty air filter in the return duct. It’s working harder and longer to compensate for the barrier of dust and dirt.

If this continues, your air conditioner’s cooling coil will eventually freeze, causing the compressor to fail.

If your air conditioner isn’t in warranty, prepare for an expensive repair bill—between $400-$1550 (depends on who’s installing it, and the size and brand of your air conditioner).

And the last thing you want is you air conditioner to break down on the hottest day of summer.

Another possibility is that the air handler (the inside A/C unit blowing the air throughout your home) overheats and breaks, another problem you don’t want to pay for.

How often to replace the central air conditioner air filter

Change the air filter at least once a month for maximum efficiency. This is especially true in the summer when you’re using your air conditioner all the time. There’s more air going through the vents, which means the filter is catching more particles, more often.

Not sure what air filter you need?

Check out our article, How To Select An Air Filter for Your Northern California Home.

Need help choosing an air filter? Ask one of our experts for help.

Service Champions, your local heating and air conditioning company, serves San Jose, Sacramento, East Bay and the surrounding areas. For more information on any of our products or services, contact us online.

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