When was the last time you checked your furnace's air filter? It's easy to replace, but it's also one of the most overlooked components of your furnace. It's not uncommon for homeowners to accidentally skip a filter replacement or two. Ignoring your furnace filter doesn't seem like a big deal – until it causes problems for your furnace.
The following highlights some of the ways that a clogged filter can wreak havoc on your furnace, leading to a variety of short-term and long-term issues that negatively impact its performance.
Clogged Filters Block Airflow
Your furnace filter has one job – filtering out incoming dust and debris from the furnace's air stream. The filtering process prevents dust from accumulating elsewhere in the furnace and the HVAC duct system. The more you use your furnace throughout the winter, the more dust and debris is trapped between the filter's fiber strands. However, this steadily restricts the amount of air that flows throughout the furnace.
A completely clogged filter will inadvertently prevent incoming air from passing through. Airflow blockages allow heat that would otherwise be sent through the ducts to build up within the furnace, putting the heat exchanger and other components at risk of overheating. Your furnace's blower fan will also work harder to overcome the blockage, putting further stress on the motor and eventually leading to premature breakdown.
Clogged Filters Promote Mold Growth
Furnace filters do more than just capture dust and debris – they also trap mold and mildew spores that would otherwise enter and potentially thrive inside your furnace. Clogged filters pose a serious risk when it comes to mold and mildew, however.
Mold and mildew spores can slip past a clogged filter once a strained blower fan forces air past the filter's crevices, spreading those spores throughout the rest of the furnace. Heavy mold and mildew buildup on clogged filters can also trigger allergic reactions and cause other potential health problems, especially if the filter gets damp or wet.
Clogged Filters Impact Furnace Longevity
As your furnace struggles to cope with a clogged filter, the cumulative stress and strain could eventually prove too much for your system to handle. Clogged filters can strain certain furnace components to their limits, resulting in a shorter lifespan for those parts and frequent service calls for repair and replacement. For instance, frequent overheating can cause stress cracks to form on heat exchangers, rendering your furnace unsafe for use until it can be serviced properly.
Staying on top of filter changes will help prevent these issues from damaging your furnace. Call an HVAC service today for more information.