Heating and air conditioning systems draw in air that contains dust, as well as other kinds of airborne particles. An efficient air filter will catch most of these particles, but what happens if it fails? In this blog, local heating and air conditioning contractor McMaster takes a look at how dust can harm your HVAC system.
Ice on the Air Conditioner
A typical air conditioner generates cool air by putting refrigerant through phases of compression and evaporation. At one stage, it becomes a super-cooled substance that passes through metal coils. Filtered air is then blown over these coils, resulting in cold air. If unclean air passes over the coils, dust will collect on them and lead to ice formation that can spread to other critical parts of the system. If you see ice forming on your indoor and/or outdoor units, don’t try to scrape it off. Call an HVAC professional for repairs.
Fortunately, ice formation is preventable. Air filters should be replaced every three months, or as often as once a month during seasons of heavy air conditioning use. If ice buildup does occur, getting rid of it is simply a matter of turning off your air conditioner and waiting for the ice to melt. If your HVAC contractor offers a scheduled maintenance agreement, consider signing up for it.
Reduced Energy Efficiency
When there’s too much dust in your ducts and air filter, your HVAC system is forced to increase its output, which results in increased energy use. Utility bills then noticeably rise, and your indoor spaces become uncomfortable. Indoor air quality will also drop, resulting in unpleasant smells that aren’t getting vented out. Contaminants such as spores will circulate indoors and result in mold and mildew growth.
Another consequence of an HVAC system that’s constantly running at full throttle is that it increases the chances of a breakdown, which is something you don’t want to happen in the middle of the summer season. Most manufacturer warranties require the owner to perform required maintenance, and since damage caused by dust is considered the result of improper maintenance, it’s possible that your warranty might get voided. In this case, you would have to pay for your repairs out-of-pocket.