The air conditioner filter is a vital component of the HVAC system, and without an adequate filter, it can cause serious damage to your compressor. This is because dust from outside pollution and dirt in the house will clog up your air conditioner’s filter, restricting its ability to circulate air through the return vents or supply ducts. With less than optimum circulation, you won’t be able to get your unit to do what you want when you need it to. This article will cover whether your air conditioner filter needs replacing.
1. AC Unit Is Too Hot
If your A/C unit runs too hot, check to see if the filter has been blocked by debris. Most modern units are equipped with a temperature sensor that monitors the temperature of all components, including the fan motor. When this temperature gets too high, the fan speed and the condenser coil’s capacity decrease, if the filter is not cleaned frequently, the unit will run much hotter than normal.
2. AC Uses More Power Than Normal
Another sign of insufficient cooling could be a sudden increase in power consumption. An example is when a window unit begins to blow cold air but suddenly uses more energy powering the fan than at idle. Look for a sudden increase in electric bills or line voltage after the unit kicks on. You should also check the drain pan, where condensate drainage usually occurs. The problem may lie within the drain pan itself if there is no water draining. Check to make sure the overflow hose isn’t plugged in.
3. Air Is Not Cold Enough
Your AC unit will only use maximum output when the outdoor temperature reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If it stays under 60 degrees, the motor will slow until the temperature rises above 60. Since air conditioning units operate continuously throughout the year, they have a built-in, reserve to maintain comfort even when outside temperatures drop below freezing. However, when working properly, your unit should reach the desired room temperature in about 30 minutes. If it takes hours to cool off your home, your thermostat setting is incorrect, your unit isn’t running efficiently, or something else is blocking airflow.
4. AC Causes Allergy Attacks
Allergic reactions such as asthma attacks, sinus infections, hay fever, etc., can sometimes be triggered simply by breathing the same polluted air that causes problems with the AC unit. It is possible for someone suffering from allergies to breathe in allergens while using their AC unit. If this happens frequently, the best remedy is to keep the filters clean. Clean them every few months with the help of professional air cleaning services.
5. More Dust Near the Air Vents
If the air around your air vent gets very dusty, chances are that the filter itself is dirty. Keep in mind that airflow goes both ways. Therefore, anything obstructing one side will affect the other. If you notice more dust near the incoming vents than the outgoing ones, replace the filter immediately.
6. Inconsistent AC Maintenance
If you forgot to schedule AC maintenance, look to see whether the filter needs replacing. Dirty air filters restrict heating and cooling performance, so the sooner you change the filter, the better. The rule of thumb is to change the filter before it starts getting clogged. Another thing to consider is that changing out an old filter installed incorrectly or improperly may cause further damage. So, if you feel your system might need repair, call the experts.
7. AC Creates a Strange Smell
If the smell from your AC unit keeps increasing, chances are you’ll need to change your filter. Filters become blocked over time due to dirt, debris, and pollen buildup. This builds up pressure inside the blower, creating a musty, chemical odour. A smell like this indicates that there might be some leakage. If you notice a strange sweet-smelling odor, try opening and closing your ductwork multiple times to eliminate the source.
8. Failing the “White Sheet Test”
The white sheet test refers to the visual appearance of the filter paper within the filter housing. If the filter papers appear brownish, yellowish, or any color other than white, the filter is filthy and has been exposed to contaminants that block the air passages. In the worst-case situation, the filter would get totally blocked with debris, posing a major risk to one’s health.
There is no harm in having routine air conditioner maintenance performed at least once per season. With regular maintenance of your air conditioner, you’ll always know what’s going on with your system. You’ll also be able to spot signs of trouble early enough to take care of issues quickly. If we pay attention to our AC systems, they’ll last us for years. They are designed to last you at least 20 more years! Do yourself a favor and get your air conditioner regularly serviced.