It’s okay for the average homeowner to know little more than the bare minimum about their air conditioning and heating systems. You may not know how a compressor works or the science behind refrigeration, but that’s okay! (And kudos if you do know.)
Still, there is one part of your air conditioning system (and heater) you should know about. Your home’s air filter is something that seems to have little effect on your comfort unless you’re worried about allergies or asthma, but there’s more to it than this consideration.
The Air Filter Protects Your System
Many people picture the air filter as something that is mainly in place to keep them healthy. That’s true, to an extent, although it’s only a main consideration in air filter design within the last few decades. The first air conditioners were engineered to include air filters so that they protect your AC system—and it’s the primary reason for their presence.
As you likely know, the indoor portion of your air conditioner contains a fan that pushes air through the ducts which lead to the vents in your home. But it also sucks in air through a register in your home first.
Without a filter there, anything in the air—dust particles, hair, and other debris—could get sucked into the air conditioner and damage it or coat the coil, blocking its ability to cool your home. The fan motor could be damaged as well, but the filter blocks debris from coming in (along with allergens).
What’s Wrong with a Dirty Filter?
So now we’ve learned that your air conditioner needs a filter in place in order to protect your home. But what’s so bad about a filter with a little dust on it? It’s still protecting the system, right?
A dirty air filter may become coated with enough dust and debris that it’s difficult for the blower fan to suck in the air it needs in the first place. In other words, dust and debris are blocked from getting into the system and through your vents, but so is warm air—an important ingredient in the thermodynamic process of refrigeration.
Your air conditioner is designed and sized to maintain a set amount of airflow coming into and out of it, and any drop in airflow can have major consequences.
- Discomfort (due to the lack of airflow and cool air)
- High energy bills
- A frozen coil (which means trouble for your HVAC system
- An overworked motor
- Or even a shorter lifespan for your air conditioner.
So Change Your Filter!
Do it for your health. Do it for the good of your air conditioning system. What’s most important is that you change the air filter each and every month, especially in the summer when Albuquerque air conditioners see a lot of use.
It’s easy to do! The air filter is typically located behind a register on the ceiling or near the wall where your air conditioner and furnace is located. It may even be directly on the system and some have several filters. For more information, reach out to a local technician!