How Can a Dirty AC Filter Cause Water Leaks in Your Furnace?
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How Can a Dirty AC Filter Cause Water Leaks in Your Furnace?

Replacing the air filter is the first step in repairing a furnace leak
Read Time: 3 minutesNov 12, 2021

If you’ve discovered water leaking from your furnace, it’s important to determine the cause of the leak as quickly as possible so that the problem can be addressed. Although there are a variety of things that could cause a furnace to leak, an easy first step is to try replacing the filter. A dirty AC filter can cause your furnace to leak water.

How Can a Dirty Filter Cause a Furnace Leak?

If the air filter is dirty, it can prevent air from properly flowing through the HVAC system. This can result in moisture getting trapped inside the system that can form ice crystals that buildup within the evaporator coils and on the air filter itself. These crystals can then melt and leak out of the furnace.

How Does an Air Filter Get Dirty?

Air filters are designed to protect HVAC systems from particles and microorganisms in household air. They’re only able to accomplish this job for a set amount of time before it starts getting too dirty. To eventually get dirty is an air filter’s function. Without the air filter, those particles and microorganisms would be spread throughout the house and inhaled by those living there. No matter what, an air filter will eventually need to be changed.

What Problems Can a Dirty AC Filter Cause?

A furnace leak isn’t the only problem that can be caused by a clogged air filter. While a leak may be more noticeable, it’s important to keep your air filter clean in order to prevent these other problems as well.

Increased Energy Bills

An HVAC system with a dirty or clogged AC filter doesn’t work as efficiently as one that has a clean air filter. If the air filter is clogged, the HVAC system has to work harder to produce the same amount of cool or warm air, thereby increasing the energy bills spent on heating or cooling a house. The HVAC unit may not be able to keep up with your heating and cooling needs and might not run as cold or warm as you need.

Dirty Air

If the air filter is clogged, then it’s not able to remove dirty particles and microorganisms from the air. Anything that the air filter can’t remove may end up getting recirculated into the house for the residents to breathe in.

HVAC Failure

If left unaddressed, a clogged air filter can eventually cause the entire HVAC unit to fail. This is an expensive problem to fix and is unfortunately common. The HVAC system has to work harder that it normally should and therefore can wear out sooner than it otherwise would.

How Often Does an Air Filter Need to Be Changed?

Removing and replacing air filter

You should change the air filter in your HVAC unit at least once every 90 days. The longer the air filter is in use, the more particles and microorganisms can build up on it. As time goes on, there’s a greater chance that it can clog the system and start making your HVAC unit work harder than normal. If there is a large amount of dust and dirt in the air near your home, then you may need to change the air filter more frequently.

What Else Can Cause a Furnace Leak?

If a furnace is leaking, it isn’t always the air filter. However, replacing the air filter is the quickest and easiest thing you can do yourself to try to fix the leak. If replacing the air filter doesn’t stop the leak, then you’ll want to explore other options, which can include a condensation leak. You may want to call in a professional to diagnose the problem before the leak gets worse or causes more damage to either your HVAC unit or to your house.

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