For the most part, you are going to see us advise against DIY heating service attempts here on our blog. That’s because attempting to service your furnace on your own can result in damages to the system as well as serious personal injury. However, there is one furnace service that you not only can handle on your own, but that you should be completing on your own. That is changing your furnace’s air filter on a regular basis.
We know, we know. Changing an air filter doesn’t exactly sound like the most critical step that you can take with your home heating system. However, it is actually one of the best ways in which you yourself can improve your furnace’s overall performance quality. And the best part? It’s so simple! Read on, keep this information in mind, and remember how much such a simple act stands to benefit you and your furnace in Fort Wayne, IN throughout the heating season.
What the Furnace Filter Does—and Why It Does It
Well, that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? An air filter is there to filter the air in the house! Sure, but it’s the second part that you might need a bit of an explanation for. You see, the air filter in your furnace does filter the air that moves throughout the system, but probably not for the purpose that you’re thinking of. In short, the air filter in your furnace really is not there to boost overall indoor air quality in your home.
Instead, this filter is really there for the protection of your furnace itself. How does an air filter protect a furnace? By preventing dust and dirt from building up within the system and on its vital components, that’s how. The dirtier the components in your furnace are—including electrical contacts, sensors, etc.—the worse off its performance is likely to be. By keeping everything clean via air filtration, the furnace’s performance is protected.
The Matter of Efficiency
The last thing that you want to do is sacrifice your comfort in the name of energy efficiency, but that’s just the choice you’ll find yourself making if your air filter is very dirty. It will drive up energy costs the dirtier the filter gets, because a dirty air filter will generate more airflow resistance than a fresh air filter will. And when that happens, the cost of running your furnace is going to go up. If you try to blow through a straw that has the wrapper stuffed up inside of it, it’s more difficult than blowing through a clear straw, right?
How Regularly is “Regularly?”
Typically, an air filter is going to need to be changed every 1-3 months in order to optimize performance and efficiency. However, this rate of change is going to vary from household to household. Anything from pets in the house to general cleanliness will influence just how frequently the filter needs to be changed. When in doubt, it’s best to pull the filter out and give it a quick once-over. These things are cheap and the benefit of changing a bit earlier is way preferable to changing it too late!