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Will a Dirty Air Filter Hurt Your Furnace?

man-holding-air-filterThe short answer to this is, “yes.” The thing is, too many homeowners think that we say you should change out your furnace or air conditioner’s air filter every 1-3 months “just because.” But the truth is, we’re offering this suggestion as a way for you to get the most effective and efficient use from your HVAC system as possible. And considering how much you’ll need to use your heater this coming winter, we’ll bet good money that you’d like to prevent repair needs.

One method of doing this is by performing a simple maintenance task on your own (we know, we usually advise against self-maintenance, but this is different). You might be surprised to find just how important the small air filter component is in comparison to the rest of your HVAC system. But it’s there for an important purpose—to keep your heating system free of dirt and other debris.

The Purpose of the Air Filter

As we alluded to above, the main purpose of your furnace’s air filter is not actually about protecting your indoor air quality. The goal of this air filter is to protect the furnace itself. Today’s filters are definitely designed to optimize the air quality as much as possible, but since 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 system, pummeling it with that debris. The filter is in place to protect your furnace or heat pump, and a clogged up air filter can cause quite a lot of problems.

The Problem with a Dirty Air Filter

Both your furnace and your air conditioning system are designed to take in a set amount of air with each cycle it goes through. This airflow helps to ensure you always feel comfortable, but also that the HVAC system motor doesn’t run for too long. If too much dirt and debris clog up the filter, it doesn’t allow the right amount of air through, which impacts a whole lot more than just your comfort.

Yes, you’ll feel less comfortable due to a lack of airflow, but you will also find yourself paying more to even use your HVAC system. This is because it will have to run nonstop to compensate, and this results in higher monthly bills as a result. A dirty and clogged up air filter can lead to serious repair needs, in order to resolve problems like:

  • Short-cycling
  • Overheating
  • Emergency heater repairs
  • Freezing coils

How to Change Your Furnace Filter

The good news is, changing your air filter is very easy to do. They’re also pretty affordable, and you can typically stock up on enough for a year at your local hardware store. The filter is usually located in a marked point near the air handler, and there will be arrows directing you on what direction to put the filter in. Of course, if you have any questions you should always feel free to reach out to our team for help!

Contact Aurora Plumbing Company for your Denver, CO heating needs. We have someone in your neighborhood today.

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