If you’re utilizing a furnace for your home comfort in the winter, then you know just how nice it can be when the system kicks on and provides you with all the heat you and your family need. But if something goes amiss with your heater, it can be panic-inducing. Sure, we don’t have to worry about temperatures that get too arctic in our climate, but compared to our summers, our winters get pretty darn cold!
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid too big of a furnace problem. We don’t expect you to understand fully how a heater works, and we don’t even recommend making repairs on your own, but there is one little thing you can and should be doing to keep furnace performance at its best–and that’s changing out the air filter every 1-3 months.
Homeowners often minimize, or just don’t know, how important it is to change their furnace air filters on a regular basis, thinking they really only need to be swapped out each year during furnace maintenance. But failure to change out this filter can have some pretty negative consequences.
The Purpose of Your Furnace Air Filter
Although it’s hardly very noticeable, there is actually a large amount of dust and debris that gets circulated throughout your home. This debris ultimately ends up in your furnace’s air ducts. If it gets inside the furnace itself, then it can create some significant damage. The primary purpose of the air filter is to prevent debris from entering the furnace and harming its components.
It’s important to regularly change the air filter as they aren’t able to rid themselves of the particles they’ve collected. If your furnace air filter gets too clogged up, airflow is restricted, which creates problems. Here’s what happens when you have a clogged air filter:
Decreased Furnace Efficiency
As we stated above, airflow is restricted when your furnace’s air filter is too clogged up. This can cause hot air to get trapped in the system. As a result, efficiency will be decreased, you risk your system overheating, and the heater will probably start to short-cycle, which is when it turns on and off in rapid succession rather than going through regular heating cycles.
In the best case scenario, your furnace will shut itself off when it overheats, and you can resolve the problem by changing the airflow. But it’s best to not let it get to this point, by changing out the air filter regularly.
Increased Repair Needs
When airflow is restricted, your furnace has to run longer and more often to try to reach the desired temperature on your thermostat.
“Okay, I get it,” you might be thinking by now, “it means my system will work inefficiently!”
Yes, and… it will exacerbate wear and tear in your system. You’ll likely find that you need to have repairs done much more often than you would have had to otherwise for a well-maintained system that you changed the air filter regularly for. This will cost you comfort, and money.