Dirty air filters are the main cause of HVAC systems failures

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It’s Fall in Florida and homeowners across the Sunshine State will be looking to restore their HVAC systems to full function and capacity for the upcoming winter. If yours are in need of a little TLC, changing or replacing the dirty and impacted air filters should be the top item on your checklist.

While there are many possible reasons for experiencing problems with the A/C units, a impacted or dirty air filter is one of the most common. So, don’t panic if your HVAC units aren’t performing as they should because this guide will answer all of your key questions, such as:

What Questions Will This Guide Answer?

How common are dirty air filters?

Dirty air filters are the most common cause of HVAC system failures, and it’s not hard to see why. Studies show that 29% of people never change the air filter in their A/C systems while 82% fail to do it monthly.


A huge 87% of U.S. homes have A/C units, and that rate is even higher in hot climates like Florida. Given that the air filter’s purpose is to catch pollutants like mold, dust, animal hair, fungal spores, and pollens that make their way into the home, it’s only natural that they will work harder during the summer months.

When combined with the fact that millions of homeowners do not replace their filters nearly as often as they should, it’s no wonder that this is one of the most common causes of HVAC system failures. In fact, it’s one of the most common home repair issues of all.

Signs that your A/C air filter is dirty

Nobody wants to spend time and money on costly service calls and repairs that could be avoided. Changing your filters regularly can improve indoor air quality, improve efficiency, and extend the life expectancy of you’re A/C system while reducing the possibility that A/C unit replacement will be required.

If any of the following symptoms show, however, your A/C air filter may be dirty and unable to perform as it should:

● Higher energy bills,

● Dust has collected by the air vents,

● You have noticed an increase in family allergies,

● The A/C unit is prone to overheating,

● Air isn’t cooling to the desired level.

All of the above symptoms of clogged air filters should be inspected ASAP, especially as treating the issue right away will allow you to restore the HVAC systems to full health ahead of a scorching July.

hat happens if you leave the dirty air filter untreated?

Despite the fact that the EPA states “filtration can be an effective supplement to source control and ventilation. Using a portable air cleaner and/or upgrading the air filter in your furnace or central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system can help to improve indoor air quality”, most people do not appreciate the importance of replacing the air filter.


It may seem crazy, but a $25 air filter could be the key to protecting your $7,500 HVAC system. Conversely, when you do not give the air filters enough attention, it can cause a wide range of problems for your family, finances, and levels of home comfort. The most common issues caused by clogged air filters are detailed below:

Unclean air

First and foremost, a clogged air filter will no longer be able to trap dust and dirt particles. In turn, any pollutants will be recirculated into the home, which significantly reduces the indoor air quality (IAQ). Given that 7 million people die annually due to air pollution, it’s an issue that demands attention.


Dirty air can worsen the symptoms of chronic allergies, particularly for anyone who has respiratory health conditions including asthma. The truth is that daily life produces a lot of air pollution due to cooking, burning candles, coughing, and general dust accumulation.
If the air filters are no longer able to reduce the number of pollutants in the air, the IAQ will suffer dramatically.

Poor cooling (and heating)

When it’s the height of summer, you need to know that your HVAC blower fans can successfully cool air for a comfortable and consistent room temperature. Clogged filters will sadly prevent this from happening.


Blower fans need to push air through the filter. When the filter is clogged, it will cause the blower to work harder. Furthermore, there will be hot and cold spots due to the inconsistent performance and blockages caused by the dust and debris. The home will not reach the intended cool temperature.


Right now, the inferior cooling technology will be your main cause for concern. Once the colder weather arrives, though, a lack of heating power will be telling too.

Increased Costs

As well as the poor performance levels, an A/C system that has been harmed by clogged air filters will inevitably need to work harder and longer. Sadly, this means that your energy bills will increase while the damage is not restricted to the blower fans either.


The rise of energy prices is enough to cause major headaches even without worrying about inefficient appliances. Clogged filters will force the air fan to work 10-20% harder compared to a clean and clear air filter. So, fixing the air filter will be a financially prudent move.


Conversely, the knowledge that your HVAC systems are costing you more money than necessary can dampen your mood – not least when the performance is equally poor.

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Increased moisture and humidity

Aside from allowing more dust and debris to circulate through the home, HVAC units that do not work as desired can cause increased moisture and humidity levels. Both of these issues can irritate respiratory conditions.


Clogged air filters create a larger surface area for moisture to accumulate, which can lead to mold spores. WHO states that dampness is a problem in up to 50% of all homes. Treating your air filters is one of the most effective ways to reduce this problem.


Meanwhile. Indoor humidity makes the room far less comfortable, regardless of the room temperature that you are able to achieve.

Frozen evaporator coils

Air conditioning units work by sucking in the air and then cooling it before recirculating it through the room. However, if the air is not able to pass through the evaporator cooling coils and chambers due to clogged air vents, the coils can begin to freeze.


A lack of airflow causes the condensation produced from cooling to evaporate before leaving the HVAC system. The poor circulation means that the coils will eventually freeze up, which then stops the unit from completing its function in the desired function.


In short, more of the hot air will continue to circulate through the air and can slow the unit’s performance with significantly negative results.

Total HVAC shutdown

If you allow dirty air filters to keep causing problems for the HVAC system, the damage will continue to grow over time. In turn, the overheating and blockages can eventually cause the entire system to stop working.


While it may be possible to fix the issues with a suitable HVAC repair service, there is the possibility that it will force you to replace the unit prematurely with a whole new HVAC installation, which can cost in the region of $6,000-$10,000. The figure can be even higher for commercial buildings.


Furthermore, it can cause temporary discomfort for your family or downtime for businesses. Therefore, keeping the HVAC air filter in good health is crucial.

How to “fix” a dirty air filter for your HVAC system

Keeping air filters clean is an essential feature of ongoing HVAC maintenance for both residential and commercial units. While the general rule of thumb is that you should change the air filter once per month, there are many contributing factors to consider that could mean you should do this either more or less frequently.


Nevertheless, most homeowners in Florida will find that this is the perfect time to start afresh by replacing their unit’s air filter. Following this, you should stay vigilant to the symptoms of poor A/C performance levels to stay on top of ongoing situations. When changing the air filter, though, it’s important that the replacement is right for your HVAC unit as there are many different options on the market.


However, if you’re unsure whether your HVAC systems may be affected by another issue, All Star Heating and Cooling can provide an inspection and comprehensive service to check your air filters and A/C system in Tampa and the surrounding areas back to full health. Contact us to find out more today.

We guarantee the best a/c solutions for you and even design custom cooling replacements and installations from trusted brands you know.

Plus we offer flexible financing options so you don’t have to compromise on what matters most.


Call (877) 675-7534 to talk to your local All Star Heating and Cooling office or Book Now.

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