Even though your windows are closed tightly in winter and nothing is blooming outdoors, changing the air filter in your furnace needs to be on your home’s must-do maintenance list. The air filter is the No. 1 defense against premature heating and cooling system failure, because dust and debris damage the parts inside the air handler.
When the filters get dirty, dust builds inside the furnace and coats the parts inside. When the dirt collects in the heat exchanger, temperatures build and the blower can’t dissipate the heat well enough to keep the exchanger at its ideal operating temperatures, between 120 and 200 degrees. Over time, a heat exchanger operating at higher heat begins to oxidize, which leads to cracks. A cracked heat exchanger renders the furnace inoperable, leading to expensive repair bills or furnace replacement. The fan’s motor also runs hotter, leading to early failure.
Changing your air filters also leads to a cleaner home and healthier indoor air. Much of the dust in your home comes from your clothing, fibers and furniture, along with skin and hair that you and your pets constantly shed. Keeping your filters clean lowers the levels of airborne debris and helps anyone with allergies or asthma breathe more easily.
Before you replace the filters, you’ll have to find out the size and type your system optimally uses. The size is important because all the air being pulled into the air handler should be filtered. A filter that’s too small brings in air from gaps around the filter frame. The right MERV designation is also important. MERV stands for minimum efficiency resistance value, which describes the size of particles the filter traps. Choosing the optimal value for your air handler before changing your air filter increases system performance.
A filter that is too dense is as harmful as using a clogged filter because it reduces the amount of air flowing through the air handler, heating up the heat exchanger and the motor.
To learn more about the importance of changing your air filter, contact us at Smoky Mountain Heating & Air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about changing air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Smoky Mountain Heating & Air services Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!
|Air Filter image via Shutterstock