The air filter is one of the easiest components of an HVAC system to maintain, but it is also one of the most often overlooked. Failing to perform monthly maintenance on your air filter can affect your heating and air in more ways than many homeowners realize. Discover four problems that can be from a clogged HVAC air filter.

1. Poor Indoor Air Quality

The air filter is responsible for removing dust, mold spores, pet dander, and other airborne contaminants from the air that circulate through your ductwork. If the filter clogs, it will naturally cause a reduction in air quality inside your home. When the filter has picked up more dust and debris than it can hold, particles will continue to blow off of the filter and circulate through your home as long as your system runs.

Another way that a clogged filter reduces indoor air quality is by limiting airflow and increasing the pressure differential throughout your ductwork. With higher pressure, particles in your walls and attic around your ducts are more likely to be pulled in through small cracks in the ducts. This will increase the overall contaminant level in your air.

2. Increased Energy Bills

Airflow blockage from a clogged air filter will not only reduce air quality but will also force your furnace blower to work harder. Central heating and air systems are designed to deliver a precise balance of air throughout your home.

When airflow is limited, the blower will have to work harder to deliver the same volume of air. This raises the RPMs of the blower motor and draws more power. You will likely see an increase in your utility bill without changing your heat or air usage habits.

3. Air Conditioner Freezing Over

When you use your air conditioner, refrigerant cycles from the outdoor condenser to the evaporator coils indoors above the blower. As air passes over the coils, heat is removed from indoor air and goes outside to the condenser. However, this process will not work if your HVAC system doesn’t get the airflow it needs to transfer heat properly.

When airflow is restricted, the refrigerant in the AC lines will stay colder than it needs to be. This can cause ice to form on either the indoor evaporator coils or the condenser outside. A frozen air conditioner won’t be able to cool your home properly, so the first thing you should do if you see ice on your air conditioner is turn off the unit and check the air filter.

4. Hot and Cold Spots

Sometimes, a problem with your central heat and air can cause hot and cold spots — uncomfortable differences in temperature in different parts of your home or even in the same room. Central HVAC systems are designed to keep every part of your home at the temperature set by your thermostat, so drastic temperature differentials are almost always a sign of a problem.

When your air filter clogs, you may notice that the rooms furthest from the blower are the ones that have the most significant temperature problems. The restricted airflow prevents adequate amounts of heated or cooled air from reaching these points, resulting in hot spots in the summer and cold spots in the winter. Cleaning or replacing your air filter may be all that’s necessary to restore the temperature balance in your home.

Maintaining your HVAC air filter is a great way to keep your home comfortable, extend the life of your system, and save some money in the process. Remember to perform monthly filter maintenance, and contact us at Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning for all your HVAC needs.