How Do You Know If Your AC Filters Are Clogged?

Even if you don’t personally perform maintenance on your HVAC system, you are probably aware of the fact that it has filters, if for no other reason than they constitute an additional expense when your HVAC technician comes out to service your equipment. And you may also know that these filters are used to trap particulates drawn into the system so that they don’t get blown back out to circulate through your interior air. But when your filters get clogged, they can affect the quality of your interior air, creating a situation that could be harmful to your health. And if you don’t address the issue, clogged filters could also lead to serious damage to your air conditioner. While you might bemoan the cost of frequent filter replacement, you’ll pay a lot more if your AC unit fails or you end up with medical bills due to a respiratory disorder. So here are a few clues that should help you catch a clogged filter early and nip it in the bud.

There are all kinds of signs and symptoms that could occur when your AC filters get clogged with dirt, dust, and other particulates. For one thing, you might start to notice a lot more dust in the air when your AC is running. If you actually see particulates coming out of air vents, or you start to notice more build-up on surfaces, it’s possible that a clogged filter is to blame. Of course, you might not see these minuscule particulates, but they could make their presence known in other ways. For example, depending on what’s clogging up your system, there could be some odor issuing forth from the vents in your home when the AC is on. Or if you suffer from respiratory issues like allergies and/or asthma, your symptoms could start to flare up.

These are generally the first noticeable signs of air filtration problems. But it can be much worse. When your filters are clogged, a ripple effect could begin. For example, fan blades might become coated with grime and end up getting jammed. Or condensations could increase, causing a number of problems, such as mold or frost on the evaporator coil. Such conditions could, in turn, compromise the health of your unit and your household. And if these issues go untreated, you might end up with serious respiratory problems or a complete AC system failure. That’s a lot of damage for want of a $50 filter.

Although you likely have your HVAC technician perform air conditioning troubleshooting when he makes his annual visit to inspect and clean your system, and part of his job is to replace your filters as needed, the truth is that you need to take the reins if your filters are getting clogged. The more you use your AC, the more often filters need to be changed, perhaps as frequently as every 2-3 months. In this case you need to be on the ball, watching for signs that your filters are clogged or simply taking the time to check them every few weeks. This will help to keep your AC system and your household safe and comfortable at all times.

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