Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

A Clogged HVAC Filter Can Cause Terrible Things!


The blog title might sound melodramatic. Can a clogged HVAC filter cause monsters to attack your house, or minor earthquakes to strike it? No, I won’t do any of that. Not that we’ve seen, anyway, and we’ve been in the business for more than twenty years. But we’ve seen the realistic terrible things that an air conditioning in Bethesda, MD can undergo when running with a clogged up HVAC filter, and we don’t want you to experience any of them.

It’s easy to avoid a clogged filter. All you have to do is remember to put in a fresh filter every one to three months. The frequency of the change depends on filter strength and how often the HVAC system runs, so we recommend you check monthly until you find the right frequency.

Now, to help you remember to do this, we’re going to talk about those HORRIBLE THINGS that a clogged filter can do.

Repeatedly Cut Off Power to the Air Conditioner

When your air conditioner abruptly turns off—fans, compressor—one of the first things to check before calling for repairs is your household electrical panel. The AC may have tripped a circuit breaker. This is something a clogged air filter will cause to happen repeatedly. Because the filter puts extra strain on the blower fan, the blower motor can cause a voltage surge that trips the breaker.

Drive Up Electrical Bills

Any time a motor in the air conditioner must work harder than necessary will result in it drawing on a larger electrical load. That will mean higher electrical bills. A clogged filter is one of the main culprits behind a sudden increase in electrical bills because of how much more work it places on the blower fan.

Lower Cooling Ability

An air conditioner cools a home by running air over a cold evaporator coil. When the blower fan draws in less air because the filter is clogged up, less air gets run over the evaporator coil to be cooled—and the less cooling the house has.

Iced-Over Evaporator Coil

Another problem with less air running over the evaporator coil is that the refrigerant in the coil won’t warm up enough. The low temperature will then freeze the moisture along it and ice up the coil. This further drops the ability of the system to cool the air, and the problem will worsen.

Burn Out the Motors

The purpose of the air filter is to prevent debris from contaminating the inside of the HVAC cabinet. When the motors get grimy, they can burn out. When the filter is heavily clogged, it will start to distort from the air pressure, and this allows dust to get around its sides and threaten motor burnout. In a worst-case scenario, a pleated air filter might collapse entirely and fall into the blower fan, causing expensive damage.

Dusty Air

Although the HVAC air filter isn’t designed to improve air quality, if it gets too clogged and allows dust to slip around it, it will lower air quality.

Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing serves Washington D.C., Montgomery & Frederick Counties. Let us help you with all your cooling needs this summer.