Winters in Utah are normally chilly and snowy, so your furnace should be in good working order to keep you warm throughout the season. But if there’s a noticeable decrease in comfort and performance of your heating equipment, a dirty filter may be to blame.
Like many homeowners, you might be unfamiliar with the various parts of your heating system. You may be wondering what a furnace filter is or how often should you change a furnace filter. Find out in the guide below.
What Is a Furnace Filter and What Does a Furnace Filter Do?
A furnace filter is either a disposable or permanent panel of filtering material (often woven fiberglass or electrostatic paper) that is located inside a furnace’s blower compartment where the return air enters the blower compartment.
Your furnace’s filter is designed to capture airborne particles and other pollutants. Its primary function is to prevent impurities from entering your heating equipment, thereby protecting it while it is operating. However, furnace filters also help to maintain healthy indoor air quality.
How Often Should a Furnace Filter Be Changed?
To keep your heating system running smoothly, you’ll need to change the furnace filter regularly. Every three months is a good rule of thumb for changing it out. However, you may need to replace your furnace filter more frequently under any of the conditions listed below:
Filters come in varying thicknesses. Since thicker filters can trap more airborne particulates than their thinner counterparts, they require less frequent changing.
- 1- to 2-inch filters: change every 1 to 3 months
- 3- to 4-inch filters: change every 6 to 9 months
- 5- to 6-inch filters: change every 9 to 12 months
Number of Occupants
There are more potential sources of contamination as the number of people in your home increases. This also means your filter will collect more debris and become clogged faster, requiring more frequent replacements.
Allergies, Asthma, & Respiratory Illnesses
If some members of your household have respiratory issues, you’ll need to change filters at shorter intervals to reduce the symptoms and likelihood of attacks or flare-ups.
Pet fur and dander get picked up and circulated indoors by your heating and cooling system before being trapped in the filter. If you have pets at home, expect filters to become clogged quicker, requiring replacements more often.
If you live in an area with a lot of smog and emissions, your filter will have to work harder to remove impurities from the air. However, furnace filters can last longer between changes if you install pollution-reducing air purifiers and cleaners.
What Happens If I Wait Too Long to Change the Filter?
Replacing your furnace filter is essential to your and your heating equipment’s health, and going for long periods without changing it will have disastrous results.
Clogged filters restrict proper airflow through your furnace, causing the equipment to work harder and use more energy in pushing out air. The extra work strains the components, resulting in repairs and shortening equipment lifespan in the long run. In addition, insufficient airflow due to a debris-filled filter causes your furnace to overheat and break down, not to mention higher utility bills and energy waste.
Obstructed air circulation from dirty filters results in uneven heating in your home, causing discomfort. As filthy furnace filters cannot capture contaminants anymore, these remain airborne and re-circulated indoors, triggering symptoms.
Let the Pros Help
Now that you know how often you should change a furnace filter and the importance of such a task, you can ask for help replacing it with trained technicians at OyBoy Heating and Cooling. We’re a trusted heating contractor offering furnace maintenance to clients in and around Lehi.