The effects of a dirty air filter can be felt throughout your HVAC system, and some can be serious and expensive to repair. Dirty filters result in higher energy bills, reduced indoor air quality (IAQ) and mechanical breakdowns. The following are several causes and effects of dirty air filters.

dirty air filter

  • Increased energy consumption. When dust covers the filter, the air flowing through it slows. The velocity of the air going through the ducts is lower, forcing your HVAC system to run longer to match the thermostat’s settings. The longer it runs, the more energy it consumes. 
  • Deteriorating IAQ. Letting air flow past a dirty filter introduces a lot of dust and airborne particulates into your ductwork and your home’s air. Anyone who has a compromised respiratory system or suffers from asthma or allergies may have worsening symptoms. Dust, pollen, mold spores and dust mite waste are common components of indoor air that a filter can trap, but when it’s dirty, some of those particulates pass through unfiltered. Eventually, you may need to have the ductwork cleaned, an avoidable service if you check and change the air filter routinely. 
  • Frozen coil. A frozen evaporator coil can cause the worst of the effects of a dirty air filter. When excessive dust covers the evaporator coil that contains the liquid refrigerant from the air conditioner’s compressor, the heat exchange between the refrigerant and your home’s air slows. In our humid climate, the ample humidity in the air will freeze on the cold coil and eventually the frost may accumulate to the point that it impedes airflow at the coil. If the system doesn’t turn off, the returning refrigerant to the compressor can cause this part to fail, resulting in an expensive repair. 

In most cases, air filters are easy to access for inspection. When your HVAC equipment is running routinely, inspect the filters monthly and replace when covered with dust.

To learn more about the serious effects of a dirty air filter, please contact us at Bodine-Scott Air Conditioning Co. We’ve provided exceptional HVAC services for Corpus Christi, Portland, Kingsville, Ingleside, Rockport, Mathis, Gregory and Port Aransas homeowners since 1961. 

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