When an air conditioner filter is not cleaned or changed regularly, it can cause a number of problems. Dirty filters restrict the flow of cold air, which can lead to ice formation on the coils. This can cause leaks or damage other parts of the unit. Additionally, a clogged air filter makes it difficult for the unit to function properly, resulting in higher than normal utility bills.
According to the Department of Energy, a clogged filter can cause a 15% increase in energy consumption. Particulate capture efficiency increases as the filter becomes dirty; buildup in the fibers reduces the openings through which air passes and allows the filter to capture more particles. If you neglected to change the AC filter for some time, there is a good chance that a lot of dust will accumulate inside the ducts. Pleated filters made of disposable nonwoven fabric have smaller pores and the pleats increase the surface area of the filter so that it can contain more particles than a flat surface.
The only type of filters that trap allergens and spores are HEPA, or high-energy particulate air filters. When your air conditioner's air filter is clogged or full of dust, you can increase energy consumption by up to 15%. As mentioned above, routine cleaning and replacement of your air conditioner's air filter is a critical responsibility if you want your air conditioner to operate efficiently. When you change your air conditioning filter every month during peak cooling season, you can save about 15% each month on utilities, as well as avoid repair problems due to airflow restrictions.
The first step in cleaning an air conditioner filter is to turn off the unit. Sliding a wet filter back into the air conditioner only causes icing and other problems, and trying to dry the filter is likely to damage its delicate surface. If you've never changed your air conditioning filter before, it's best to have an HVAC technician do it for you the first time. Learning how to clean an air conditioner filter can help you save energy and manage your air conditioner workload.