Furnace Problems Due to a Clogged Air Filter

It is often the smallest and most subtle things that cause the biggest problems, especially when it comes to home heating systems. If not properly maintained, there are a hundred different ways that small parts can cause big problems for your furnace. Let’s take a look at one of the most important, though unassuming, parts of the furnace: the air filter.

What is the Air Filter?

The air filter is a fiber mesh stretched over a frame, and installed in the air return duct of your furnace. It is designed to protect your furnace from any dust and debris that might blow in from the ducts, while still allowing air to travel freely through the system. It does this job remarkably well. However, the air filter does need to be cleaned or replaced every 1-3 months in order to prevent it from becoming clogged with all the particulates that it captures. If this is not done, it can lead to some pretty severe issues with your furnace.

Clogged Air Filter Problems

The biggest problem with a clogged air filter is that it doesn’t allow air to pass through it anymore. This lack of cool air flowing into the furnace does two things. First, it prevents the furnace from actually warming air and circulating it throughout the house. Second, it traps all of that heat that the furnace is producing inside the furnace itself. That trapped heat raises the temperature inside the furnace significantly, which will quickly trip the furnace’s limit switch and shut the system down as a safety measure.

After the furnace temperature has dropped sufficiently, it will start up again in response to the thermostat’s continuing calls for heat. That will trip the limit switch again, which will shut off the furnace again. This constant on/off cycle is called “short-cycling” and severely limits the lifespan of your furnace by putting it under far more strain than it is designed to handle. It can also lead to other issues, like a cracked heat exchanger.

If you haven’t had your air filter cleaned in more than 3 months, call Comfort Central, Inc. We provide quality furnace repair services throughout the Brevard area.

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