Swapping out a furnace filter for a new one every so often is a chore that most homeowners know they should do. On a frequent and regular basis or when signs of a dirty filter make themselves known, it is easy to make the switch to a new filter. Despite this, there are still some people that forget or disregard changing out a dirty filter. Neglecting your furnace and heating system in this way can cause bigger problems and the need for costly repairs.

The Role of an Air Filter in Your Heating System

Your home heating system (most commonly) works in a cyclical operation using forced air. A filter is the aspect of the system that filters out dirt and debris in the air cycle, leaving your home air in a cleaner state. As air is either cooled or heated (depending on whether you are using the air conditioner or the furnace), the air passes through the filter to be cleared of contaminants and control your air quality.

Results of a Dirty Air Filter

If ignored for too long, a dirty air filter can cause problems like the following:

Heat Exchanger Damage

Your system’s heat exchanger is in charge of heating the air that circulates through your home. If air is blocked or delayed by a clogged and dirty air filter, it can cause the heat exchanger to overheat and, in some cases, break and shut down. Once this happens, the heat exchanger malfunction can lead to failure of the entire furnace to start up.

Decreased Energy-Efficiency & Higher Utility Bills

Slower-moving air or air that is blocked by a dirty filter also means the system has to work harder to blow the air through the ventilation system. This results in higher energy bills and the system having to run more to achieve the same temperature. Instead, simply changing out the air filter will save you the money you would be spending on trying to efficiently run the heat.

Inability of HVAC to Keep Up with Home Temperature

As alluded to above, when an air filter is clogged to the point that it restricts air flow, the entire system has to work harder. Part of the extra work involves attempts to keep up with your set thermostat temperature. However, when heated air gets trapped in the filter or is unable to be forced out effectively, a home will not heat up as quickly or maintain an even temperature throughout each room.

Poorer Air Quality

Perhaps the most obvious consequence of a dirty and littered air filter is poor home air quality. As particles like pollen, contaminants, and allergens build up on the air filter, the air that is then circulated throughout the home is dirty. At the end of the day, this results in your air filter doing more harm than good as these dirty air particles are recycled over and over again into the air you breathe.

Complete Furnace Failure

In the worst-case scenario, dirty air filters can lead to complete furnace failure that necessitates costly repairs. This happens due to a series of events where various parts of the furnace are unable to function properly, such as issues with the following:

  • Fan damage
  • Pilot light
  • Heat exchanger
  • Pressure switches

The cost of repairing a furnace can cost multiple times the amount of a simple filter replacement, so it is important to remember to switch out those filters!

Des Moines Furnace Servicing

The team at Wyckoff Heating & Cooling cares about the quality of your home air and your heating system. If you think you may be experiencing issues related to your furnace, or are unsure what is needed to improve your heating system, contact our team for an appointment.