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Why Is My Air Conditioner Air Filter Black?


Indoor Air Quality Tips from Maryland’s Top HVAC Contractor

Have you ever removed your air conditioner’s air filter, only to find it covered in a black coating? If your air conditioner’s air filter is dirty or clogged, it will resemble the lint filter screen from a dryer, except black and most likely a bit thicker.

Your air filter may be black for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Old age
  • Mold growth
  • Pet dander
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Dirt
  • Miscellaneous debris

What Happens If My Air Filter Is Black?

When your air filter turns black, the air cleanliness inside your home is significantly decreased in addition to:

  • Reduced air flow – the air filter inside your AC unit is designed to catch unwanted contaminants in your cooling system’s ductwork and improve the indoor air quality inside your home—including dust, dirt, and other debris that may enter your system. When your air filter is black, filter screen is blocked or clogged. This significantly decreases airflow in your home and causes your air conditioner to run for unnecessarily long periods of time.
  • Decreased air conditioner efficiency – When your air filter is black and clogged, your air conditioner works harder to keep your home cool than with a clean, unblocked filter. When your air conditioning system works longer and harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature it’s energy efficiency decreases and results in expensive electricity bills.
  • Increased temperatures – Clogged air filters reduce air circulation throughout your home. When cool air cannot circulate from room to room indoor temperatures increase and cause your home and decrease its ability to cool off.
  • High utility bills – Your air conditioner is powered by electricity. So, a black air filter resulting in decreased air conditioner efficiency can cause your utility bills to increase during the peak of summer.

What Should I Do If My Air Filter is Black?

If your air conditioner is black, we recommend one of two options:

  1. Clean your air filter if it is washable or vacuum the air filter
  2. Replace your old air filter with a new one

If you need assistance replacing your air filter or are unsure what make/model to purchase, contact GAC Services. Our air conditioning technicians specialize in air conditioner maintenance and improving the indoor air quality of your home.

Nation’s Best Air Conditioning Contractor

GAC Services was awarded the 2015 ACCA Residential Contractor of the Year Award, recognizing us as the nation’s best residential heating and cooling contractor.

Our other HVAC awards include:

  • 2013 Bryant Dealer of the Year
  • Eight time Bryant Medal of Excellence (MOE) award recipient
  • “Best of the Best” and “Old Reliable” in Washington Magazine

Schedule Air Conditioner Maintenance in Maryland

We offer comprehensive air conditioning maintenance in Maryland. Located in Gaithersburg, we service all homes in Montgomery County, Frederick County, and their neighboring communities!

Contact us online or give us a call to schedule air conditioner maintenance! We’ll check your air conditioner’s air filter to ensure your home maintains comfortable temperatures all summer long. Want to ensure your entire heating and cooling system is operating efficiently year-round? Check out our Prime Maintenance Membership!

Need Service? Schedule a service with us today!

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