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A Wet Air Filter Could Be a Sign of Bigger Air Conditioner Problems

The air filter is a simple, yet vital component of the HVAC system. The filter protects the blower motor and evaporator coil from damage and poor performance caused by debris accumulation and mold development. For the best cooling results, the filter should be changed as the manufacturer suggests, installed correctly and remain dry. If you notice a wet air filter when changing yours out, it may actually signal a bigger problem with the air conditioner.

Wet Air Filter

Even in our humid Central Florida region, the air filter should always be dry. A wet air filter loses efficiency and restricts airflow across the blower. This can cause the blower motor to fail, which will put your air conditioner out of service until a major repair is performed. A wet filter also promotes mold development—a serious indoor air quality problem.

The following are common reasons why you may have a wet air filter:

  • Location: Check to make sure the filter is installed in the right place. Filters are typically installed in a return duct slot preceding the air conditioner or behind each return grille.
  • Leaky dehumidifier: If you have a whole-house dehumidifier attached to your HVAC system, check to see if it is leaking water on the filter.
  • Condensation: As the home is cooled by the air conditioner, cool return air can cause condensation on metal ductwork around the filter. If this is the problem, the ducts should be insulated to inhibit condensation and reduce heat gain/loss.
  • Condensate drain: The condensate drain removes condensate that drips from the evaporator coil. The drain is susceptible to blockages from mold, algae and debris that accompanies the dripping condensate. A clogged drain should be remedied immediately to prevent potential water damage in the home. Remove the cap to the access pipe and pour one cup of bleach into the drain. If this doesn’t work, contact your HVAC professional.

For more information about dealing with a wet air filter or more substantial underlying HVAC problems, please contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions today. We’ve been serving the Orlando area since 1969.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about wet air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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