The short answer to this is, “yes.”
No, it’s not going to make your furnace explode or anything, but a dirty air filter will certainly have a negative impact on the furnace’s performance and your overall comfort.
Many homeowners think that a dirty air filter is a problem because of their indoor air quality. This is due to a pretty common misconception—that the furnace air filter is in place to protect the indoor air quality. It’s actual purpose is something completely different.
Sure, your furnace air filter won’t hurt your indoor air quality, but their intended purpose is actually to protect the interior components of your air conditioner and heating system. Read on to learn more, and to learn how a dirty air filter will impact your home and its comfort, including the life of your furnace.
How a Dirty Air Filter Hurts Your Comfort
The air filter we speak of is located between the intake air register and your HVAC system. A clogged air filter prevents air from circulating through your ventilation system, so you won’t have enough air to effectively heat your home. This same concept applies in the summer too. Your air conditioner’s air filter can cause the same problems when it’s too clogged up.
If you notice cold spots (or hot spots) around your home, or if your thermostat is registering a temperature that seems different from the actual temperature inside your home, then a clogged air filter could very well be to blame.
Both your furnace system and your air conditioning system are designed to take in a predetermined amount of air with each cycle they go through. This airflow is what helps to ensure you always feel comfortable, but also that the furnace motors don’t run for too long. When dirt and debris clog up the filter it doesn’t allow the right amount of air through.
Ultimately, your furnace has to run nonstop in order to compensate for the lack of airflow, which results in higher monthly energy bills than you should actually be paying. A dirty filter can also lead to serious repair issues such as:
- Emergency Repair Needs
- Freezing Coils
How to Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Why would anyone pay to resolve any of the above-mentioned repair needs when they could prevent them outright? Well, you can, by changing the air filter! Standard HVAC air filters are actually relatively affordable, and you can typically stock up on enough for an entire year from your local hardware store.
The filter should theoretically be changed every 1-3 months to prevent the above-mentioned issues, but it depends on the type of filter and the level of contaminants in your home.
You can find the clogged filter by looking for a marked point near the air handler—there will be arrows directing you on what direction to put the new filter in. If you do have any questions or concerns about this, please reach out to our team. We are happy to help!