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What Really Happens If You Don’t Change Your Furnace Filter

It’s just a filter. Do you really need to worry about it, and change your furnace filter often?

We get it. You have a lot going on in your life.

And with so much happening inside your home right now, you might have adopted the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Your HVAC system is running well. You’re receiving warm air and are comfortable throughout your days. Should you spend time with your furnace if it’s working the way it should?

How an air filter works

What Really Happens If You Don’t Change Your Furnace FilterToday’s furnace filters are generally made from pleated paper or spun fiberglass. You’ll find them convenient to handle, created in a square or rectangle cardboard frame, with the fiberglass or paper in the middle.

Every furnace has a specific slot for the air filter. Slide it in and it starts working immediately. It creates a barrier for dirt, dust, and other particles to prevent them from blowing out into your air supply, and returning to the sensitive parts of the system.

Depending on the air filter you select determines how much it can remove from the air supply. Air filters are designed to lift out and block things like dust, pollen, hair, pet fur, mold, bacteria, and other contaminants.

How often you should change your furnace filter

Every furnace comes with its own set of guidelines. Check with your owner’s manual, or do a little research online to find the guidelines set up by your specific furnace. Then change out your furnace filter regularly. Some manufacturers will recommend seasonally while others recommend every 30 to 60 days. Remember, your HVAC system is used year round, for delivering warmed air in the winter and cooled air in the summer, so it’s important to change your furnace filter all year long.

Of course, guidelines are set up for the average house. Only you can determine how much use your furnace filter may receive throughout the year. Here in 2021, most of us have spent a lot of time at home this past year. Between working, going to school, and spending time staying in place, it’s more important than ever to change your furnace filter regularly, to ensure you’re breathing the best air possible.

What if you don’t change your furnace filter

Over time, the air filter picks up all sorts of particles. The more it picks up, the dirtier it gets. And this clogs the innerworkings of the filter itself. It creates a barrier that stops air from completely flowing through. That can create a buildup that flows back into the HVAC system, damaging the equipment.

If proper air flow isn’t moving into your rooms, you’re more likely to notice warm or cold spots throughout your home. Is there one room that just doesn’t seem to be comfortable? Do you notice yourself reaching for your thermostat more throughout the day? One of the first places to look is for a clogged air filter.

And that can mean higher energy bills every single month. Have your utility bills gone up without a logical explanation? Simply changing out your furnace filter may do the trick. It’s an inexpensive way to getting your furnace back into good working condition.

It can also impact your health. If the furnace filter isn’t picking up the pollutants and contaminants it’s supposed to, that means they are entering the air supply you breathe. And if you’re spending more time at home, that means more risk. Have you or a family member experienced headaches, itchy eyes or throat, dizziness, or allergy-like symptoms? Change out your furnace filter and see if they clear up.

Luckily, the answer is an easy one. Change out your furnace filters regularly. You can often save money by buying them in multi-packs. Buy one, and buy a spare. Then change them out, especially as your furnace operates more throughout the winter. Your furnace will thank you.

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