Changing furnace and return air filters is critical to the proper performance of your HVAC system, not to mention your home’s air quality.
Air filters are an often under-appreciated part of a central HVAC system. They don’t just filter out bits of pollen and dust that would otherwise circulate through the home and lower indoors air quality. They also provide a first line of defense against larger objects. But if you don’t change your air filter regularly, it can turn against you.
All the air handled by the HVAC system passes through the air filter at one point or another. As the filter catches more and more of the natural particulate pollution of your home – dust, mold and fungal spores, pet dander, fabric fibers, etc. – the fine mesh through which air passes becomes denser. This means that if you don’t change your air filter regularly, air can’t pass through as readily.
Some results for having a clogged air filter include but not limited to:
Clogs generate increased energy consumption – Because the system relies on the constant recirculation of air, the performance of your heating and cooling system’s blower fan can have a big impact on your home’s energy consumption. The harder this fan has to work to draw air throughout your home, the higher your energy bills will be. In fact, a clogged filter can use 15% more energy, according to the Department of Energy. This inefficiency increases quickly as the filter becomes more and more clogged, or until the filter is serviced.
Clogs cause frozen evaporator coils – If your air filter clogs during the summer cooling season, this can cause the evaporator or cooling coil to freeze up because not enough air is moving past the coil to dissipate the condensation that is normally produced during the cooling process.
Clogs lead to inadequate heating/cooling – Blower fans push the air through the filter. If the filter becomes too clogged with dust, dander and debris, then the blower has to strain harder to pass the air through a clogged filter. With reduced airflow you can experience hot and cold spots in your home, and it could be difficult to reach your desired indoor temperature levels.
Clogs contribute to unhealthy air – A clogged air filter will allow all that dust and debris that should be filtered out to be re-circulated back into your home. This can cause chronic allergies and especially be dangerous for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Clogs lead to furnace failure – Likely the costliest result of an improperly changed air filter may be the internal damage it deals to your central air conditioning and heating system.