6 Ways Dirty Air Filters Impact Your HVAC System


Did you know? Dirty air filters are the #1 reason for HVAC system failures. It’s true! By restricting airflow into the air handler, a dirty filter places a lot of strain on your system. Over time, the fan motor may burn out, which can cause your HVAC system to overheat and fail. Here are some ways a filthy air filter affects your heating and cooling system:

  1. A dirty air filter is the #1 reason for HVAC system failure. Why? A dirty filter limits airflow into your HVAC system’s air handler. This restricted airflow places additional pressure on the air handler fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor, which can cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail.
  2. Your HVAC system relies on air being recirculated continuously throughout your home. The harder your blower fan has to work, the higher your energy costs will be. Don’t think something as simple as an air filter will make much of a difference in how hard your fan has to work? According to the Department of Energy, a clogged and dirty filter can use 15% more energy than a clean one. Think of the difference 15% can make on your energy bill! If you want to reduce your energy bill, change your air filter regularly.
  3. Dirty, clogged air filters also lead to poor indoor air quality, which can worsen symptoms of asthma, cold and flu, and other respiratory conditions.
  4. A dirty air filter equals a dirty HVAC system. A dirty HVAC system means ducts that need to be cleaned more often and system components breaking down sooner than they should. It can even mean that you may need to replace your HVAC system sooner than expected.
  5. A clean air filter traps dirt and particles keeping your system running smoothly. If, however, the filter is dirty, then those same particles can begin to coat the heating and cooling coils. Over time, your system will have to work harder, and it will become more prone to burning out or freezing up.
  6. Dust, dander, and other particles clogging up your air filter will result in reduced airflow and an increase in energy usage. It may even become impossible for your system to reach your preferred indoor temperature levels.

Regular filter replacement is a small price to pay to extend the life of your HVAC system. If you have trouble remembering to buy and replace filters, try buying 6–12 months of filters ahead of time so that they are always on hand. Then, set a reminder on your phone to change out your filter. Problem solved!