Your heating and air conditioning systems are both vital to your home’s comfort throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to stay cool in the summer or if it’s time to heat your home in the winter, you need your AC and heater to work well. One of the most common (and easily avoidable) problems that we see is a clogged air filter. In order to protect the inside parts from large particles like dust and dirt, your HVAC system has an air filter in it, usually located near the return air duct. It needs to be changed regularly or it will clog and restrict the flow of air through the system. This can cause several serious problems for your home and we wanted to let our customers know about them.
Air Conditioning Problems from Clogged Air Filters
Your air conditioning system’s main job is to remove heat from your home and exhaust it outside. In order to do that, it uses a fan to pull in warm air from your home, then passes it over a series of very cold evaporator coils. The fan then pushes the newly–cooled air into your home through the ductwork. If the air filter gets clogged it will restrict the flow of air into the system and cause the following issues:
- Insufficient cooling
- Extra wear and tear
- Inefficient operation
- Reduced comfort
- Ice on the coils
- Strange noises
If you notice any of these issues with your system, the first thing you should do is check your air conditioning system’s air filter. Depending on the type of filter that you have, you may be able to wash it off and put it right back in. But most likely you will have to buy another filter.
Heating Problems from Clogged Air Filters
For heating systems, a clogged air filter can cause big problems—especially for furnaces. A burner in the furnace heats up the heat exchanger and a fan pulls in cool air from your home and passes it over the exchanger. If the filter is clogged it won’t allow enough cool air over the exchanger and it will heat up which could cause it to crack. A cracked heat exchanger can allow carbon monoxide to leak into your home which could be very dangerous.
Make sure that you get your heating and air conditioning systems regularly inspected and maintained by a professional. During regular maintenance visits, they will likely check the filter to make sure that it isn’t clogged or alert you if it is.
For many people, the sound of a furnace kicking on reminds them of the winter and a warm home. But while furnaces are regarded as one of the most efficient and consistent heating systems on the market, they will eventually break down and need to be replaced. Knowing when that time has come for your furnace can be difficult though. Take a look below to see some of the signs that indicate a need to replace your furnace rather than just repairing it.
- Rattling. If your furnace makes a rattling noise, it could just be a loose part. But it could also be a cracked heat exchanger allowing carbon monoxide to leak into your home. (Your furnace’s heat exchanger is a long tube of metal that gets heated by the burner and warms the air coming into your home.) The exchanger is also responsible for removing all of the dangerous combustion gases from your home. If it gets cracked, it almost always needs to be replaced instead of repaired.
- Rust. If your furnace is coupled with an air conditioner system, condensation from the AC can actually drip down onto the furnace. This usually happens when the condensate drain system gets clogged and overflows. The water often drips onto the heat exchanger and rusts it until a hole develops in the heat exchanger, necessitating replacement.
- Inefficiency. As your furnace ages, it will start to deteriorate. Even if you get it serviced twice a year, time marches on and your furnace won’t be able to heat your home as well. If you start to notice an increase in your utility bill, you should probably call for repair or replacement. Your heating technician can tell you whether he or she can repair the system and improve its efficiency or if it’s time to start thinking about replacing it.
- Frequent repair. Your furnace shouldn’t require that much professional attention except for some maintenance visits each year. If you have to call for repairs on a regular basis, you may be better off spending that money on a new system.
- Age. Age can be a very important determining factor in whether or not you decide to replace your furnace. You don’t always have to wait until your furnace is completely dead in order to consider replacing it. As your furnace ages, it will likely develop several of the issues listed above. You could save yourself a lot of headaches by replacing it early.
Whenever you detect any problems with your furnace, make sure that a professional performs any replacements and installations. Also, be sure to call early when you notice any problems so that you can keep them from developing into larger, more costly issues.