Getting the most from your HVAC system starts with keeping the furnace filter clean. A dirty filter drives up energy costs, reduces overall comfort and hastens the breakdown of the system. Avoiding these problems might be as simple as checking the filter monthly and changing it when it’s coated with dust.
Importance of Airflow
Forced-air heating systems rely on a certain amount of air passing through to complete the heat exchange process. A clogged air filter will slow airflow, so it not only takes longer to heat your home, but the amount of air blowing through the ductwork is lower and rooms farther from the air handler will stay colder. The longer running time increases energy costs and shortens the system’s lifetime.
Dust Covering the Components
A dirty filter introduces dust into the air handler, and it can cover all the components. Dust acts like insulation and when it covers the blower motor, it makes it run warmer. Dirt-covered electrical and mechanical components inside HVAC systems don’t work as efficiently or last as long.
When dust covers the heat exchanger in the furnace, the air blowing over it won’t pick up the heat that the burner inside the furnace provides. The heat exchanger is made from metal and when it holds heat longer than the manufacturer intended, it can crack. If the cracks make their way through the surface of this part, they can emit deadly carbon monoxide (CO) into your home’s air.
A cracked heat exchanger can force you to disable the system and replace the part or, oftentimes, the entire furnace.