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What Can Go Wrong When an AC Has a Clogged Filter

man-with-furnace-filterOne of the top pieces of advice we have for homeowners when it comes to their air conditioning system is, “Replace the air filter regularly.” We’d wager that if you asked a hundred HVAC technicians for their top piece of AC advice, more than 90 would give the same answer. It’s easy to do, and it prevents so many problems. 

During routine maintenance, our technicians will take care of changing the filter. But during the rest of the summer you will have to do the job—usually every 1 to 3 months, depending on the strength of the filter. It isn’t a tough task, and if you have any questions about it, you can always ask our team. If you want to know why this is so important, we’ll list some of the problems that a clogged filter can cause an air conditioner. 

The AC shuts down because of a tripped circuit breaker

The basic problem with having the filter become clogged is that it restricts airflow from the return air ducts. The blower fan in the HVAC cabinet pulls this air through the filter and then pushes it past the AC coil. If the filter is left in place, the debris it catches will congest the filter so much that the fan will strain to get enough air through. The strain placed on the blower motor can cause it to overheat and trip the circuit breaker, shutting the AC down. If you have to reset a tripped breaker for the AC, check on the filter to see if it’s clogged.

Higher electrical bills

When the blower motor has to work harder to do the basic part of its job, it will have to draw on more power to run. You’ll see this reflected in your electric bills. A sudden rise in this bill is a warning to check on the filter and change it. 

Dust contamination in the AC cabinet

The purpose of the filter is to prevent debris coming through the return air ducts from getting into the HVAC cabinet, where it can damage components. But if the filter becomes too clogged, it will do the opposite of its job. The congested filter will bend because of the extra pressure put on it, allowing dust to slip around the sides and get into the cabinet. 

Frozen evaporator coil

You never want to see ice on any part of the air conditioner, because it means something has gone wrong with the AC’s ability to absorb enough heat from the air. A clogged filter can cause the evaporator coil to freeze over because there won’t be enough warm air moved across the coil to lower the temperature of the refrigerant inside. 

If you’re having trouble with the AC even after putting in a new filter, please call us for air conditioning repair in Essex, VT. We’ll pinpoint the problem and provide the right remedy so you’ll have a cool house once more. 

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Call today to schedule service.

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