Why is it Important to Change the Air Filter in Your Furnace and Air Conditioner?

If you ask anyone who knows about heating and cooling systems what the most important maintenance task is to keep your furnace and air conditioner running strong, the answer you’ll almost always get is, “Change your air filter!” A clogged air filter causes all sorts of efficiency and performance problems, and it is one of the leading causes of furnace and air conditioner breakdowns. Today we’re going to talk about why your air filter needs to be changed and what will happen if you neglect it!

Why does your air filter need to be changed?

In order to answer this question, let’s first take a look at what an air filter does. The air in your home contains dust, dander, allergens and all sorts of other airborne particles. So when your furnace or air conditioner begins to suck air from your rooms into your return ducts, all of those particles come with it.

Before the air in your return ducts gets to your heating and cooling system, it first must pass your air filter. As air goes through the filter, those airborne particles are trapped by the filter while the clean air keeps moving past it. This is great, but over time those particles build up on your filter more and more until there is no more space for air to efficiently blow past your filter. That’s when it’s time to install a new filter.

What happens if you don’t change your air filter?

  • Your system will consume more energy. As your filter gets more and more clogged, your air handler has to work harder to push air through the filter. This will significantly increase your system’s energy consumption and lead to high utility bills.
  • There is a much higher risk of breakdowns. Because a clogged filter forces your air handler to work so hard, your system runs the chance of overheating and breaking down. And that’s just one of many things that can go wrong with your system when you run it with a dirty filter. In fact, a clogged filter is one of the leading causes of furnace and air conditioner problems.
  • Your home won’t be comfortable. Without enough airflow, running your system with a clogged filter will make it nearly impossible to keep your home at a comfortable level.
  • The air in your home won’t be clean. Airborne particles aren’t just bad for your furnace and air conditioner; they’re also bad for your health. When your filter is clogged, dirty air will bypass the filter and circulate throughout your home, forcing you to breathe unfiltered air.

If you have any questions about why it’s important to change your air filter, or if you’d like a heating and cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.