What You Need to Know About Your Furnace Air Filter

Clean-Air-FilterWhen something causes a furnace to start malfunctioning, most people tend to assume it’s something big and threatening. While it certainly can be something significant that is causing your furnace to act strangely, it doesn’t necessarily need to be. There are a number of smaller things that can nevertheless cripple your furnace if they aren’t dealt with properly. Let’s take a look at one of those things: the air filter.

What It Does

The air filter sits in the return duct for the furnace. All air that enters the furnace passes through the filter first. The filter is there to protect the system from any and all contaminants that might make it into the furnace and damage it. Some contaminants commonly found in the ductwork of a home include dust, pollen, dander, dirt, and other particulates. Aside from possibly messing with the internal operation of the furnace, these contaminants also lower your indoor air quality by exacerbating allergy attacks and the like.

While the filter is pretty good at protecting the furnace from contaminants, and improving your air quality in the process, it does have one major flaw. It cannot get rid of any contaminants that it collects. This means that if the filter is not changed every few months or so, it will eventually become clogged. This is where the problems start.

Clogged Air Filter

If the filter for your furnace becomes clogged it will block most of the airflow from entering the furnace. This will cause a number of issues. First, it will cut down on the amount of output the system is able to generate. A furnace with a clogged air filter will struggle to properly heat the home. Second, cutting off the majority of the air flow into the furnace will trap heat in it. This will cause the system to overheat and eventually short cycle. Short cycling is a serious issue that will both lower the efficiency of the furnace and increase the chances of other problems developing with it. It will also shorten the lifespan of the furnace by a number of years if it isn’t fixed in time.

Changing Your Air Filter

If you want to have a professional change your furnace filter, you can do that. Ideally, though, you’re going to want to change the filter every three months. If you want to save money, you can actually change the filter yourself pretty easily. All you need to do is have the appropriate replacement filter and know where to look.

Take a look at your furnace. The air return duct should be right where the duct meets the main body of the furnace. In that area, there should be a cover over the filter. Open it and remove the old filter, taking note of the direction that the arrows point on the edge. Insert the new filter, making sure that the arrows are pointing in the same direction. Once that’s done, just close the cover and you’re all set!

Comfort Central, Inc. offers comprehensive furnace repair services in Asheville, NC. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.  

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