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These fans are usually not filtered so they build up dirt rapidly.
This filter is generally the final filter that the air sees before it goes to the conditioned space.
The fins on a heating coil are typically spaced further apart than the cooling coil fins and the coil is usually not as deep. Because of this, they typically do not foul nearly as quickly as cooling coils, but they do need to be cleaned if visibly contaminated.
The drain pan is often a major source of biological growth. These pans need to be kept as clean as possible. A common problem is that the contaminants in the drain pan will clog the drain line potentially causing the entire base of the unit to get wet. This can easily and quickly evolve into a mold problem.
The supply fan is the primary driver of the air through the air loop. Even a small buildup on these fan blades can cause excessive energy waste.
Even though the air traveling through a supply duct may have been filtered, these ducts still get dirty. The main concern for dirty supply ducts is that anything that breaks free inside of them goes straight to the occupied space. Some people suggest that if the dirt has settled in the supply duct does it makes sense just to leave it there. We disagree. Duct work gets shaken and/or vibrated for various mechanical reasons. This allows contaminants to break free allowing them to go downstream unobstructed. Another major concern of having dirty supply ducts is if there is a high moisture event in the duct system, the contaminants inside of the supply ducts can quickly develop into a mold problem.
This is where the air in the occupied space is returned to the air conditioning unit. These very often build up a lot of restrictions due to the dirt from the occupied space clogging in them. When this happens, the unit must work much harder to maintain airflow, thus using more energy.
Return ducts return air from the occupied space to the unit and is typically unfiltered. This unfiltered air can quickly contaminate and build up in return ducts. Typically return ducts foul more quickly than supply ducts, thus they need to be cleaned more often.
These components are often very similar to the ones used within the air conditioning system. However, since they are rarely filtered, this is often the first problematic area for ducts becoming contaminated.