A functional furnace system is essential if you want to maintain a warm interior during the cold winter months. As long as the furnace is functioning properly, many homeowners don't give their HVAC system a second thought. Unfortunately, overlooking routine maintenance could lead to a catastrophic system failure that will leave your home without access to heat.
One of the easiest things that you can do to maintain the efficiency and performance of your furnace is replace the air filter on a regular basis. The simple act of swapping out air filters can contribute to the longevity of your furnace and help reduce maintenance costs over time.
If you want to better care for your furnace in the future, here's what you need to know about furnace filters.
What a Furnace Filter Does
The heated air that is distributed throughout your home is pulled into your furnace from the surrounding environment. This air passes through the filter as it moves into the furnace. Any dirt or debris particles that are suspended within the air supply are filtered out.
By eliminating these particles before they have a chance to enter your furnace, the filter helps keep the interior of your furnace clean. Less dust and fewer allergens are circulated through your air ducts and into your home when the filter is fresh.
As particulate matter clogs up the filter, it becomes harder for your furnace to pull in enough air to meet your home's heating demands. This creates unnecessary strain on the mechanical components within your furnace, which can lead to expensive HVAC equipment failures.
When to Change Your Furnace Filter
Now that you understand the crucial role a furnace filter plays in the efficient performance of your HVAC system, you may wonder how often you should change the filter for maximum protection. There really is no straightforward answer to this question. The location of your home is unique, so the air surrounding your home will be unique as well.
Several factors can affect how quickly your furnace filter clogs up. If you have a construction site near your home, the air will be filled with more dust particles that will clog up the filter faster. Pets can also shed dander that finds its way into your furnace filter. If someone in your home has allergies or other respiratory problems, you may find that you need to change your filter more often to preserve indoor air quality.
Check your furnace filter often. Holding the filter up to a light source and checking to see if any light shines through can be a simple yet effective test to help you determine when you need a new filter. If the filter is clogged, the light will not penetrate it. Replacing a filter before it becomes too clogged will help you avoid serious HVAC problems in the future.
How to Change Your Furnace Filter
When the time to install a new furnace filter arrives, you must consider some key factors. The filter should fit snugly into the filter rack on your furnace. These racks can vary in size from one furnace brand to another, so filters come in a variety of sizes as well.
The old filter should have its measurements printed on its cardboard frame. If you cannot read the label, use a measuring tape to get an approximate size. Filter sizes are determined by length, width, and thickness, so be sure that your factor all three of these measurements into your calculations when purchasing a replacement filter.
Once you have the correct replacement filter, simply remove the old filter and slide the new one into the filter rack.
Keeping a fresh filter in your furnace will dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of your HVAC system. Contact Action Plumbing & Heating Maintenance for help maintaining your heating system by keeping an eye on the furnace filter.