Few routine household chores have as large a payoff as changing your HVAC system’s air filters. Forced-air HVAC systems use air filters to trap particles before they enter the air handler to keep interior components clean. A clean system delivers the most efficiency and uses the least amount of energy.
Clean air filters can help prevent all of the following problems:
- Slow airflow. Once a filter is covered with dust, not as much air can flow through it. It’ll take the system a longer time to match the thermostat’s settings, which can drive up energy consumption.
- Dust inside the air handler. Whenever dust covers mechanical or electrical parts, they don’t run as efficiently. Dust-covered fan blades can slow a fan down, while a blower motor covered with dust and dirt will run hotter, wearing itself out faster.
- Inefficient heat transfer. A combustion furnace contains a heat exchanger that sits close to the burner chamber. If it’s covered by dust, it won’t transfer heat as quickly to the air passing over it. Consequently, the exchanger will remain hot longer, contributing to metal fatigue — one of the primary reasons HVAC air filters need to be kept clean. Eventually, metal fatigue can cause cracks and emit carbon monoxide into the air. A cracked heat exchanger often necessitates a furnace replacement in lieu of a repair because of part availability and labor costs.
- Poor indoor air quality. As dust collects on the filter, more of it will blow through the ducts and reduce indoor air quality.
- System shut downs. Combustion furnaces have safety switches that will shut the system off if too much heat builds up inside it. The furnace won’t start to run again until it’s cooled down sufficiently.
It’s a good idea to check your air filter monthly, and change it when it’s covered with dust. How often depends on your home’s dust load, your family’s size, how often your system runs for and whether or not you have pets.
To learn more about changing HVAC air filters and keeping your system clean, contact Overland Park Heating & Cooling, Inc. We’ve been providing top-notch HVAC services for Greater Kansas City homeowners since 1983.