When homeowners hear “you should change your HVAC air filter every 1-3 months,” they often tend to take this as a helpful suggestion toward better indoor air quality rather than a requirement to keep that HVAC system running as well as it should.
The thing is, if you want the most efficient and effective use from your furnace as possible, you should be heeding this air filter advice. It’s one relatively small maintenance task that homeowners can and should do on their own. And you’d probably be surprised to learn just how important the furnace air filter actually is.
It’s actually not in place to protect your indoor air quality (though, of course, it doesn’t hurt) but rather to protect the furnace itself. Read on as we explain!
Understanding the Standard Air Filter
As we alluded to above, the main function of your furnace air filter is not to protect the air quality in your home, but rather the interior components of your furnace. Now, today’s air filters are designed to optimize air quality as much as they can. However, since your furnace’s blower fan sucks in air at such a high rate of speed, it also pulls in dust and debris. So yes, it’s removing it from your air, but without the air filter in place, it would have nowhere to go but inside your furnace.
This debris could potentially damage the components of your furnace. But what about when that air filter gets too dirty or becomes clogged up with debris?
The Problem with a Clogged Air Filter
Both your heating and cooling systems are designed to take in a set amount of air from your home with each cycle they go through. This airflow ultimately contributes to your comfort and ensures that the furnace motor doesn’t run for too long. When the airflow is restricted by a clogged up air filter, the right amount of air can’t get through, which is harmful to the HVAC system.
First off, when airflow is restricted you will feel less comfortable. You’ll also eventually find yourself paying more to even use your furnace. Your heating system will have to run long in order to compensate for the lack of airflow, and this will result in higher monthly bills. A dirty air filter can also lead to serious repair needs. You’ll find yourself needing to resolve problems like short-cycling, overheating, freezing coils, and other heating emergencies.
Changing Your Furnace Air Filter
Depending on the type of air filter you have, which will be clearly marked on the air filter itself, yours should be changed out or cleaned every 1-3 months. How do you do this? The filter is usually located in a marked point near the air handler, and there are arrows directing you on how to put the filter in. But if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!