Tips & Resources
The HVAC system is one of the most expensive investments in a home, yet keeping it in top condition year after year is actually fairly simple and inexpensive. In addition to annual maintenance by a trained technician, the main way to keep your furnace and air conditioner running properly is to change the air filter every 60 to 90 days (depending on how quickly it gets dirty and clogged). This small task is often overlooked, but not doing it is the most common cause of bigger, costlier problems. Changing the air filter regularly is the best way to ensure the ideal comfort level in your home.
Here is a look at what can happen when the filter isn’t changed regularly.
Air filters trap the dirt, dust and other particles in the air inside your home to prevent it from getting into your heating and cooling system and being recirculated throughout your home. Eventually, the filter becomes clogged with debris and air can no longer pass through it freely. Without sufficient airflow, the equipment has to work harder to adequately heat or cool the home and keep it at a comfortable temperature. This takes more energy for the same result. You may experience this as short cycling, where the furnace turns on and off repeatedly throughout the day.
With a dirty air filter, the HVAC system works harder to maintain the proper temperature in your home. It is using more energy to achieve that level of comfort than it would have to with a clean air filter. That extra work requires more energy and that means higher energy bills.
A dirty air filter will eventually block all airflow through your HVAC system and cause operating problems such as the complete loss of heating or cooling. This can happen if the filter goes without replacement or cleaning for well past the recommended 60-90 days. Chances are the problem is the result of a mechanical failure due to overworking the system and will require repair or replacement. An even greater danger is the possibility of the furnace overheating and starting a fire. The cost is time and inconvenience of any of these issues will be way higher than simply replacing the filter in a timely manner.
The quality of a home’s indoor air is impacted in part by how the filtration system in the furnace or air conditioner works. When the air filter is clogged, it is no longer able to remove dust and debris. Those particles end up in the air ducts and released into your home along with the circulated heated or cooled air. This is especially dangerous for those with asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems, but clean indoor air impacts everyone’s comfort.
Excessive wear and tear due to a dirty air filter (or any lack of maintenance) will shorten the life of the furnace or air conditioner and require a replacement sooner than would otherwise be necessary.
An air conditioner that runs harder because of a clogged air filter risks having the cooling coil freeze. This prevents the air conditioner from working.
Save time, money and inconvenience and keep your HVAC running efficiently by replacing the filters as needed. To make it as easy as possible, set a reminder on your phone or computer and stock up on filters for the season or year to be sure you always have a new one on hand.