Telling our customers to replace their HVAC air filters every 1-3 months isn’t just a suggestion—we’re saying this because it’s the only way you’re going to get the most efficient and effective use out of that HVAC system. And considering how much we use our furnaces during these winter months, chances are you’d like to do whatever you can to avoid high heating bills or potentially even unexpected repair needs.
One way you can do this is by performing one small maintenance task—yes, there is one maintenance task you can do on your own—change your air filter! You might be surprised to find just how important this small component is. Many homeowners think it’s just there to protect their indoor air quality, but this is not its intended purpose. Read on to learn more!
The Point of Your Air Filter
As we mentioned, the main point of your furnace’s air filter isn’t to protect air quality. Rather, it’s to protect your furnace. Today’s filters are designed to optimize air quality as much as possible, but because your furnace’s blower fan sucks in air at such a high speed, it could also potentially suck in heavy amounts of debris.
Dirt and other particulates in the air of your home could potentially damage the furnace itself, pummeling its internal components with that debris. The filter is there to protect your furnace from these particles, and a dirty and clogged furnace can cause some trouble!
Why You Don’t Want a Dirty Furnace Filter
Both your furnace and your central air conditioner are designed to take in a certain amount of air with each cycle it goes through. This airflow helps to ensure that you always feel comfortable, and also that your furnace’s motor doesn’t run for too long. Dirt and debris can clog up the filter, and will not allow the right amount of air through. This impacts more than simply your comfort.
Sure, you’ll feel less comfortable because of the lack of airflow. But you will also find yourself paying more to even use your HVAC system. The system has to run nonstop in order to compensate, which results in higher monthly bills. A dirty air filter can also lead to serious repair needs, to resolve problems like:
- Emergency furnace repairs
- Freezing coils
How to Change Your Air Filter
It doesn’t make sense to pay for repairs when you can resolve this issue before it even happens—by changing your air filter. Air filters are generally affordable and you can typically stock up on enough for a year from your local hardware store.
The filter is usually located in a marked point near your air handler, and there will be arrows directing you on what direction to put the filter in. If you have any questions or concerns, you can, of course, reach out to our pros and we will be happy to help!
Permanent air filters are less common, but are also an option. We don’t typically recommend them since you can have problems with mold if you clean them and don’t let them dry properly before reinserting. However, it is a possibility.