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Ask An Expert: What Will Happen if I Don’t Change My HVAC Filter?

Ask An Expert: What Will Happen if I Don’t Change My HVAC Filter?

Ahh your HVAC air filter. You know you’re supposed to change it; but even though it is a simple and inexpensive way to keep your heating and cooling system running at peak levels, it is a chore often forgotten by homeowners. Unfortunately, forgetting to change an HVAC filter can wreak havoc on your unit. In order to better understand why it’s such a crucial part of your HVAC system maintenance, here are some of the problems that can arise when you don’t make replacing them a part of your routine.

It Can Cause Unnecessary Strain on Your HVAC System

When the filter gets clogged, air has a much harder time moving through it, which means that your HVAC system starts to work harder to push the air through. It’s working twice as hard, if not more, to do the same amount of work. Before you know it, your energy bill starts to skyrocket, parts prematurely breakdown, and you have limited control over the temperature in your home. 

Clogged Air Filters Causes Buildup Throughout the System

As your HVAC is an entire system, parts are interconnected.  The accumulation of dirt and grime on the once-porous surface of the filter allows dust and other contaminants to reach the ductwork, the blower fans, and other parts. Soon enough, there will be buildup in those parts too, causing the moving components to become bogged down and jammed. This will also cause your energy bill to rise because parts like fan motors will be overworked as they try to combat the issue.

Clogged Air Filters Cause a Decrease in Indoor Comfort

If you don’t replace or clean your HVAC filter, you will start to notice a decline in your indoor air quality. The air will start to feel stale and stagnant and it will become harder to reach the desired temperature. Why? Because the surface of the filter will become caked with dirt and air will be unable to pass through and the system will not be able to condition or cool it. 

This can impact everyday activities in the home like sleeping, and can trigger allergic reactions. If you own a business, these kinds of conditions are enough to deter customers and make employees miserable.

Effects of Decreased Indoor Air Quality

The air filter’s primary purpose is not necessarily to increase indoor air quality, however, when it goes unchanged for long periods of time, pollen and pet dander are more likely to enter the home. Not changing the filter can also cause moisture to accumulate in the structure which can lead to even bigger problems like mildew and mold. 

So How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?

The rule of thumb is to replace your filter once a month but it can vary greatly based on a number of factors including what type of HVAC system you have and what type of filter you use. It can also depend on whether your home sees a lot of foot traffic, houses pets, or has people that are at risk like children, the elderly, and those inflicted with certain breathing conditions. 

The best tip we can give you is to have an HVAC contractor come out to take a look at your system. Peninsula Heating & Air helps to keep your HVAC system running in prime condition. Learn more about our services and maintenance programs for residential and commercial owners. Call 804-642-6163 for more information.

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