Do You Really Need an Air Filter?

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Although air conditioning systems can work without an air filter, this can lead to various problems. Read on to learn why air filters are important for the HVAC system and what happens if you don't use one. 

Purpose of Air Filter in HVAC Systems

Typically, air filters are located in the blower compartment of the HVAC unit. When air passes through these filters, airborne contaminants are removed. These filters also protect other parts of the HVAC system as the contaminated air can recirculate through the HVAC unit, damaging its components. There are different types of air filters, but most are made of spun fiberglass or pleated paper.

What Happens If You Don't Have an Air Filter?

Air Quality Issues

One main problem that can occur if you use an HVAC system without an air filter is that the indoor air quality is reduced. Without the filter, dust, debris, pet dander, and other contaminants will continue circulating inside the room. Reduced air quality can result in health complications, especially if you or anyone in the room is sensitive to air quality. 

Increased Energy Bills

Another problem that can arise if you do not have air filters is that the air conditioning system can start to use more energy. Without air filters, the HVAC would have to work harder to clean the dirty air, increasing electricity consumption.

The electricity consumption can also increase as the HVAC has to work harder to push the air through the filter. If you notice your HVAC is consuming more energy, try cleaning the air filter. If it is clogged, you should consider replacing it. 

Drainage Issues

Air filters also play a key role in preventing the drain pan from accumulating dust and debris. When there is no air filter, the drain pan would be congested – which prevents it from draining moisture and condensation from the unit. This will result in condensation building up on the coils. The moisture on the coil can eventually cause water damage to the system.

The buildup of contaminants in the AC system can prevent it from blowing cold air into the room. Dust buildup on the evaporator coils and moisture in the climate has an insulating effect on the coils in the AC system, causing them to freeze up. This can lead to damage to the coils. When the coils eventually thaw, the excess water will start collecting in the drain pan, leading to water damage. 

Ductwork Problems 

If dirt, debris, or other contaminants enter the HVAC system, they can travel down to the ductwork and start accumulating. This can also lead to a buildup of moisture in the ductwork., which can lead to mold growth. 

Mold growth damages your HVAC system. The spores can also circulate through the air, causing harm to the respiratory system and other health problems. Removing mold growth from the ductwork may require a cleaning service from an HVAC professional. 

Unexpected Repairs

Dust and debris buildup due to the absence of air filters can lead to wear and tear in other parts of the system. The components would have to work harder to meet the temperature requirements. This can make the system overheat and risk premature wear and tear. 

For example, dust can restrict airflow, making it difficult for the unit to draw air. The blower motor can also undergo permanent damage and require replacement. To keep your HVAC unit functioning optimally, installing air filters and replacing them regularly is an essential part of maintenance. Read more here about the best type of HVAC air filters.

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April 25, 2023
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