Changing your furnace’s air filter every few months will extend the life of your furnace.
Without inserting a regularly changed air filter, dirt particles, mold, spores, and allergens will build up in your system, compromising the health of your furnace and the health of your family.
Not only will your indoor air quality suffer. But, you’ll also pay more on your utility bills and may end up replacing your furnace years before you should.
What Does A Furnace Filter Actually Do?
A furnace filter’s primary job is to keep airborne contaminants out of the furnace.
While we like to think of the filter’s job as guarding our health and reducing dust, its actual job is to optimize the furnace’s ability to heat the home or office.
What Factors Can Affect Air Quality And Clog An Air Filter?
The number of people living in a home affects the useful service life of a furnace filter. In a large household, changing furnace filters is done on a more frequent basis than homes with just one or two occupants.
People introduce many contaminants to the home environment such as dander, hair and outside dirt and debris.
The more people there are in your home, the more contaminants there are for the filter to catch.
Pets are another major contributor of contaminants into the indoor air supply. They shed fur and dander, which are picked up by airflow and circulated throughout the home by the HVAC system.
For every furry family member living in your home, a filter’s useful service life is reduced by approximately 30 days. So, you’re changing furnace filters more often.
Indoor Air Quality
If you have air quality issues present in the home, your furnace filter isn’t going to last as long as it does in a home with good indoor air quality.
Folks that use air purifiers and air cleaners reduce the amount of contaminants circulating in their HVAC system. Homes that utilize air cleaners can extend the useful life of their filter and HVAC system.
And, they reduce the amount of allergens in the air.
Heating & Cooling Usage
The more your heating and cooling equipment is running, the more contaminants circulate in the air. Heavy usage months in the winter and summer will capture more contaminants for the simple fact that these systems are running more.
Make sure that you check the condition of your air filters more in these high usage months.
What Happens When I Don’t Change My Furnace Filter?
Failure to change your heating and cooling system’s filters will not only affect your indoor comfort, but it can seriously damage your HVAC system.
When filters are clogged and the HVAC system continues to run, the flow of air is restricted. The flow of air doesn’t run through the system properly causing the system to work harder and hotter than it should.
The effect is to stress the system’ delicate components and use more energy – causing increased energy costs in the short run but also potentially in the long run as well.
Airflow blockage caused by a dirty filter also creates a situation known as “short cycling”. Short cycling is caused when an overheated HVAC system overheats because of the added stress of pushing air through a clogged filter.
When it cools, the system starts up again only to overheat again.
Short cycling leads to system damage and even total system failures not to mention higher utility bills and diminished comfort.
As contaminants build up in the HVAC system due to a dirty filter, they can form clumps of debris that can collect in the condensate drainage system.
When this happens and the moisture that is pulled out of the air is unable to properly drain, the collected moisture may spill over causing water damage to the HVAC equipment and nearby areas.
Plus, excess condensation increases the level of humidity making the general environment uncomfortable.
How Can I Remember To Change My Filters?
Now that we know just how important it is to check and even change your furnace filters, we need to set up a method to remind us when it’s time.
- Since we all pretty much have smartphones, make a note in your reminder app to check your filters every three months or so – and more if you have pets or a large household.
- Make a note to have your equipment serviced every 6 months or every year. Your qualified HVAC technician will make certain that not only is your filter tip top, but your condensate lines are open and everything is running as it should.
- Take a look at your energy bill. If it looks a little high depending on the time of year, use that as a reminder to check your filters.
We live a major part of our daily lives in our homes and spend a lot of dollars creating a warm and comfortable environment. Doesn’t it make sense to go the extra measure to protect our investment?