What happens if you don’t change your home air filter?

Did you know that the air in an office filters through your AC system five to seven times a day? And that number can be even higher in your home! This is why ensuring that your system is giving you the best air quality possible is so important. If your AC system is not thoroughly cleaned out, and your air filters are overdue for a change, your unit can continuously circulate pollen, mold, and germs throughout every room all the time. To keep everyone healthy and avoid turning your HVAC system into a superspreader, it is important to take care of your unit on a regular basis. 

Here are a few things that happen when you do not regularly have your unit cleaned out or replace your filters. 

Wear and tear

Over time, dust and grime will collect in the ducts and reduce how well the moving parts in your unit function. This means that they will need to be replaced much faster. The average lifespan of an HVAC unit is 15 to 20 years. Without regular maintenance, and consistent air-filter changes, the life of your unit can be shortened by 5 to 10 years. That means that you could potentially have to begin replacing parts (or the entire system) in as few as 5 years. 

Higher utility bills

Filters are not designed to work forever. They eventually fill up with the dust and dirt they have captured, and need to be replaced. In this way, they act very similarly to the dryer filters you use to keep lint and dust out of your air. 

When you don’t change your filter, it will begin to fail. When this happens it stops being able to filter the air properly, letting dust and contaminants get into your system, and eventually into the rooms the unit is cooling. That dust also jams the AC’s moving parts, such as the motors and valves. Airflow is restricted which creates a strain on the system. When this happens, your system will start to draw more power since it has to work harder in every way, which can lead to utility increases of 15 percent or more.

Additionally, build ups in your system can cause some rooms to be heated or cooled to your desired temperature while other rooms never get to the temperature set on the thermostat. If your rooms are not being equally heated or cooled, it is usually a good idea to reach out to HVAC specialists like Haha’s Heating and Cooling to examine your system. 

Moisture and mold

Let’s start with if you have upgraded your system to catch allergens and spores through HEPA, or high energy particulate air filters. These contain a much finer mesh than other filters, so they can keep tiny particles such as allergens, pollen, dander, and mold spores from being circulated. These filters are categorized by MERV ratings of 1 through 20, with the higher ratings indicating that they are more effective at catching small particles. 

It is important to note that while HEPA filters can greatly reduce sickness, allergies, and poor air quality indoors, not every system can accommodate the high efficiency filters (especially the MERV 13 filters that are being recommended due to COVID). It is always a good idea to check with an HVAC specialist to make sure that you will not burn out your unit and to create the best possible plan for protecting your family or those in your building from particles that can cause health problems. 

Additionally, if you live somewhere with a lot of humidity, or near a high moisture area, not having effective ventilation can spread mold spores and create stagnant air that allows viruses to thrive. 

Coils stop working

Your AC unit has evaporative coils which help to remove heat from the air to keep your home cool. With a clogged air filter, the air will not flow over the coils correctly, which means the evaporator coils will likely stop working and this will eventually lead to a total system failure. 

Your HVAC system needs regular maintenance in order to continue running effectively. At Haha’s Heating and Cooling, we specialize in servicing your home air unit so it lasts as long as possible. To schedule an appointment for us to take a look at your unit, give us a call at (816) 456-8535.