Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

What Can Happen If You Leave a Dirty Air Filter in Place


Changing your air filter is one of the most important parts of maintaining your air conditioning system, but many homeowners forget to do it. Without giving your AC a new air filter every 1 to 3 months, you run the risk of short-cycling, low airflow, and even system damage. 

The air filter is one of the simplest but most critical components of your HVAC system. It prevents dirt, dust, and debris from building up in your AC. It also defends your system against larger hazards that could break the entire AC or even start a fire.

If you ever find yourself in need of air conditioning repair in Bethesda, MD, your air filter may be the reason why. 

The Troubles of a Clogged Air Filter

1. Reduced Airflow

Reduced airflow due to a clogged air filter will lead to uneven temperatures throughout the home. Some areas may always feel hot, others will experience a near-constant draft. Poor airflow also means a greater strain on your entire system, which can lead to damages that require professional repairs.

2. Less Cooling

Less cooling is one of the most noticeable signs of a clogged air filter. Although your system works as it should, it simply can’t deliver the cool air through your ducts and vents as it should. If you’ve been wondering why your house doesn’t feel as cool lately, checking the air filter is a good start.

3. Overheated AC

An overheated AC will short-cycle or shut down completely. Because clogged air filters require the entire unit to work harder, it is at a much higher risk of giving out. Overheating air conditioners can also trip your circuit breaker, so if you’ve noticed this happening, you likely need to replace your air filter. 

4. Iced-over Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil holds chilled refrigerant, which air will pass over as it is cooled and blown into your home. When the air is unable to move through the system efficiently, this can cause the evaporator coil to freeze. 

A frozen evaporator coil puts a large strain on the blower motor, and your AC will blow warm air. 

5.  Higher Energy Bills

It can take some time for the effects of a clogged air filter to affect your AC, but the impact will be almost immediate in your energy bills. Because your system is working harder to perform its job, it will have to draw more power than usual to get air through the vents.

Any sudden increase in energy bills is a good reason to call for an air conditioning repair technician.

6. Dust and Dirt Contamination

Dust and dirt will build up in any HVAC system that doesn’t have an air filter catching particles. Once the air filter has collected as much dust, dirt, and pollutants as it can, anything else will float freely through the system.

Build-up on inner mechanisms can lead to breakdowns, and mold and other bacteria can start to grow in your ductwork. 

You might also notice more dirt and dust pilling up around your home; this is a sign that your filter isn’t able to perform its job properly anymore. 

At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn!