Your furnace air filter is an inexpensive component of your furnace, and one that is easy to change yourself. In the Decatur, AL area, a good time to change your furnace filter is now, since your furnace has likely been running for a few months to keep your home warm, especially at night.

The furnace filter’s job is to extend the life of your HVAC system by capturing particles from the air as they enter your furnace. A good filter can also improve air quality if you opt for one with a higher MERV rating, which will trap smaller particles.

It’s easy to forget to change your filter on a regular basis, as it is typically out of sight. However, it’s important to tackle this chore every three to four months that your HVAC system is in use.

What happens if you never change your furnace filter?

Air Quality Drops. No one wants to cough or sneeze constantly inside their own home. But when a furnace filter gets dirty, the excess particles can end up in your HVAC system, circulating through your home. Filters can only hold so many particles, and they can overflow just like any overfilled container.

Such bad quality air can exacerbate illnesses such as asthma and allergies, and lead to higher medical bills. A dirty filter will quickly make your home’s air dirtier than the air outdoors.

Your Unit Can Overheat. When air flow drops due to a dirty filter, your furnace’s fan will have to work harder to circulate air through your home. This is because the reduced airflow won’t be enough to circulate heat in and out of your system and into your home. Overheating can damage any mechanical component, and this in turn can lead to costly repair bills that happen sooner than you’d like. If this occurs, your furnace may shut off frequently to prevent damage, but this issue should not be left unchecked.

Energy Bills Can Rise. Dirty filters also raise energy bills, which no one wants, especially during times when costs are already high due to other factors. If your electric or gas bill is rising, look to your appliances for the cause, beginning with your furnace.

When air doesn’t circulate well through your system for whatever reason, your furnace must run harder, and run for longer, before your home is adequately heated. Your furnace will also likely need to run more frequently.

There’s also the chance that your furnace will short-cycle due to a clogged filter, as overheating will force it to shut down before it does its job. This leads to more frequent cycling and higher bills.

More Wear and Tear. If your furnace is running more than it should due to a clogged filter, parts such as fans and belts will wear more quickly. This can lead to expensive, more frequent repairs than what is normal, and you may even find yourself replacing your entire furnace years before its projected lifespan. This is the most expensive repair you can make to your HVAC system.

After Changing Your Filter. Changing your filter will sometimes alleviate furnace and air quality issues when done regularly. However, if you’re still seeing issues after this simple task, be sure to give us a call to find the cause. At Southeastern Mechanical Services, we’re here to keep your system running smoothly all year long.