We’ve all been there: you know you’re supposed to change your filter, but you keep bumping the task down to the bottom of your to-do list. Out of sight is out of mind, after all. As long as your furnace is producing warm air, you’re not too worried about what its filter looks like.
Not so fast! Inspecting and changing your filter should be a crucial part of your seasonal furnace tune-up. Experts advise changing these filters as soon as they start to look gray and sooty, often with visible dust across the surface.
Why do you need to change your air filter if your HVAC system seems to be running smoothly? The answer is that your system might not be running as well as you’d think.
A clean air filter can help improve your household’s health and comfort, enhance the system’s efficiency, and even lower your utility bills and maintenance costs. If you’ve been procrastinating on your latest air filter change, this blog is for you. Read on to learn more!
Preserving Air Quality
One of the most important jobs of your furnace filter is to improve your home’s air quality.
As your HVAC system circulates air through your home, the filter catches airborne contaminants. This includes things like dust, pollen, dirt, pet dander, and other unwanted substances. With these contaminants trapped within the filter, the air you breathe is much cleaner.
However, as contaminants build up on the filter, it becomes harder for your HVAC system to preserve your air quality. This can lead to more polluted air, which can even become a health risk. According to the EPA, indoor concentrations of pollutants are often 2-5 times higher than outdoor concentrations!
If you or anyone in your home has allergies or respiratory conditions, a clogged filter can be a more serious health hazard. If you’re concerned, be on the lookout for signs of poor air quality. These can include coughing and sneezing, itchy eyes or noses, headaches, and fatigue.
Regular filter changes can prevent these symptoms and improve air quality.
Experts recommend changing your filter once every 30-90 days, though this depends on your household makeup. For example, homes with pets, smokers, or members who have allergies may need more frequent changes than a home without. You’ll also need less frequent changes if you don’t use the furnace very often.
Keeping Your Home Clean
As we’ve stated, your air filters catch debris before it has the chance to circulate in the air. This is great for your health, but it’s also great for the cleanliness of your home.
When your HVAC system becomes unable to catch airborne contaminants due to a clogged filter, that debris ends up elsewhere in your house. You might start noticing a more pronounced buildup of dust than usual, with surfaces in your home becoming more difficult to clean.
Maintaining System Efficiency
When your AC or heat pump air filter gets clogged, it can make your entire HVAC system less efficient.
Remember, your system’s job is to push and pull conditioned air around your home. To do this, it forces air through various filters.
When dirt and debris coats your filters, your system has to work much harder to push air through them. This consumes more energy, putting a serious strain on your system.
Your HVAC will try its best to meet your heating needs, using more of the fan or blower motor’s power. Over time, this extra pressure on critical components may cause these parts to lose their efficiency or fail. Even parts that have little to do with air circulation may feel the strain and start to fail over time.
Enhancing Your Comfort
An inefficient system is a less reliable one. It can be hard to predict when parts will wear down, and you might find yourself reaching out for HVAC maintenance more often than you would if you changed your filter as needed!
Clogged filters in your system can also lead to uneven or cold temperatures throughout your home. This can be frustrating, especially because you’re often paying more for less comfort.
For homeowners who rely on their heating in the dead of winter, system breakdowns can be the ultimate discomfort. If your HVAC fails on a cold winter night, you may have to wait in your freezing home for repair services to arrive the next day.
Lowering Your Costs
Another byproduct of system inefficiency is higher overall costs.
As your system works harder to force air through your home, it’s also drawing on more power. This often translates into higher energy bills. Because most of us use our heaters often in the winter, those higher costs can add up fast!
You’ll also have to pay more for repair and maintenance costs. As mentioned above, a dirty filter can strain various parts of your HVAC system as it struggles to keep up with your heating needs.
This can require you to replace parts long before you should and pay for extra maintenance and repair sessions. In the worst-case scenario, you may even end up replacing your entire HVAC system earlier than anticipated, with dirty filters having cut its lifespan short.
By contrast, a new air filter will run you only $60-120, depending on the type you choose. If you get a reusable option, you can avoid another purchase for years. These costs are nothing compared to the expense of a complete HVAC system replacement!
Do a Furnace Tune-Up Today
Your filters are a crucial part of any furnace tune-up. Though their responsibilities may seem minor, air filters are essential for your home’s comfort, the system’s efficiency, and your bottom line. If it’s been a while since you checked your filter, take a look at it today and replace it as needed!
When you need a comprehensive HVAC tune-up, Milano Mechanical is here to help. We’re proud to offer our high-quality maintenance and repair services to homes throughout Placer County, Sacramento County, and the North Bay area. To maximize your airflow and ensure your household’s comfort this winter, contact us to schedule maintenance now.