A central air conditioning unit can provide years of comfort to your home. But, there may be times when it doesn't seem to be working quite right. While many components themselves can fail individually, a lot of problems can be boiled down to the filter. It is recommended that air conditioning filters be changed about every month or when you can no longer see through them. If this doesn't happen, some of the following problems may occur.
The unit will work harder
When filters are clogged, chances are the unit will work harder to draw air through it. Clogged filters can also cause problems such as the air conditioner cycling on and off frequently. This may result in higher electric bills and put the unit at risk of components failing earlier than expected.
It causes components to freeze
When an air conditioning unit runs for long periods with a bad filter, certain parts, such as the evaporator coils, can freeze up. When this happens, coolant is not heated or evaporated correctly through the system, affecting other components. Replacing a filter right away will not necessarily cure the problem. If the unit has been running for a while and components are frozen, they must be thawed before the air conditioner can be started again.
More dirt bypasses the system
When the filter is not replaced and gets clogged, some of that dirt can actually bypass the filter. This may cause more dust and dirt to settle on the unit's components causing them to work improperly. It may also contribute to clogged air ducts, making the cooling system less effective inside the home.
Changing the filter
If you can't remember the last time you changed your filter, you might want to take a look. Most units have filters on or near the unit or air ducts. If in doubt about the location, check your owner's manual. New filters can be easily found at any home improvement stores and some big box stores. If you can't change the filter yourself, an air conditioning specialist, like Dodds Heating & Cooling, should be able to help you.
Whatever you do, don't run the unit without a filter. Doing so will cause the same problems as running a dirty filter, but the damage will happen more quickly. If you replace the filters, but there is still a problem, contact a repair professional. It is possible that one of the components is failing.