Here’s an easy way to help your furnace run more effectively and efficiently this winter — and continue to keep you cozy for years to come: change its air filter.
Air filters get lots of credit in the warmer months for ridding indoor air of pollen and other organic pollutants. But they perform an important role in the winter, too, as dust and grime build up quickly in environments shuttered against the Kansas City area’s cold and snow. Changing air filters regularly helps protect your heating equipment as well as your home’s indoor air quality.
Clogged air filters limit airflow into your air handler’s fan motor, forcing it to work harder, meaning it consumes more energy, meaning your utility bills grow along with your carbon footprint. This also can lead to overheating or premature failure of your HVAC system. Dirty filters also fail to trap dust and debris before they reach your furnace and other system components, putting your expensive equipment at risk.
In addition, dirty filters can’t protect you and your family from contaminants in the air. In today’s tightly sealed homes, indoor pollutants can build up quickly. For some people, the dust and debris making the rounds in even the tidiest homes can aggravate respiratory problems or other health issues.
During periods of your furnace’s peak use, check your air filter at least once a month, replacing it when it appears dirty. During your furnace’s slower times, check the filter at least once every three months. While most air filters should be thrown away and replaced with new ones, some are washable and can be reused.
Most novice do-it-yourselfers can replace their air filters. Your filter is probably located at the spot where the return duct meets your furnace’s air handler, a big metal box. Look for a long, narrow removable cover; lift it up and pull out the filter inside. Replace it with a new one.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.