Before we begin, please note that in many conventional forced air HVAC system the furnace and air conditioner both use the same filter.
Changing or cleaning the furnace filter is one of those chores that is out of sight, out of mind. Since a dirty or clogged filter may not be as immediately noticeable as a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, it can be easy to move this particular task to the bottom of your to-do list. However, we don’t think that’s a good idea, and here’s why:
Think about when you are driving on the expressway and suddenly it goes down to one lane. Cars slow down, or even have to stop for a little while, as one by one they all make their way through that narrow space.
The same thing happens with a dirty filter. When the filter is clogged, the flow of air coming into your home slows down significantly because it just doesn’t have as much room to get through. This means, that in order to heat or cool your home, your furnace or air conditioner must work much harder.
A harder working furnace or a/c = more money spent.
The point of a filter is to trap dust, dirty, pet hair, and other particles that dirty up our air. Some filters do it better than others, but even the best filter can’t continue to trap dust well if it is already completely clogged up. This means that yucky stuff will keep floating around in the air your breathe instead of being trapped by the filter.
Remember how a dirty filter means that your furnace or air conditioner has to work harder? Any machine that works too hard has a shorter lifespan. Furnaces and air conditioners, when maintained correctly, can last a good long while (15-20 years)–don’t cut it short by skimping out of your filter.
Energy Star recommends changing or cleaning the filter at least every 3 months. However, they point out, “If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it.” If your home has pets, or if you have allergy sufferers at home, you may want to change or clean the furnace filter frequently.
For more information, contact Flame!