You know you should change your furnace filter often, but do you know why? Think of your HVAC system as the lungs of your home. Whatever gets sucked into the air supply affects the HVAC system, just like whatever you breathe into your lungs can irritate your respiratory system and cause breathing problems.
Changing the air filter ensures that more of the pollutants that might damage your furnace or air conditioner are captured on the surface of the filter rather than drawn into the system. This means that parts will work better and more efficiently, your bills will be lower, and your system will last longer. Let's break it down and see how.
Dirt's Impact on Your HVAC System
When an air filter stays in place longer than is recommended by the manufacturer it does a poor job of trapping dirt particles. Over time, those dirt particles circulating in your home's air may be drawn into the HVAC system and build up on the parts, leading to poor performance and mechanical failure.
Dirty filters also can cause a serious condition called pressure drop. Dirt buildup on the filter impedes airflow, causing the system to work harder to pull in air. Pressure drop is when there is no airflow at all. This not only causes the system to work harder to heat or cool, but can lead to mechanical problems and breakdown.
Additionally, a dirty filter traps condensation, which may promote mold. Spores that are sucked into the system can colonize the coil and other parts, leading to malfunction and to mold being distributed through the ductwork.
Changing the Filter: How Often?
Different filter manufacturers recommend different intervals for replacement. It's always best to be guided by their recommendations. Some higher end filters can last 6-12 months, but generally, you should change the filter every month, particularly if you use the (cheap) fiberglass type. Sometimes, better quality pleated filters can be used as long as three months. However, you should change your filter more often if you have pets, if someone smokes, or if there's a lot of activity in your home.
To learn more about changing an air filter, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We serve the Greater Cleveland area.