If you’ve visited this blog before, then you probably already know that we are huge proponents of routine heating maintenance around here. There is just nothing better that you can do for your heating system than to schedule heating tune-ups on an annual basis. It keeps your system effective and efficient, and really cuts down on the need for heating repair in Colorado Springs. You probably also know that we are adamant about this service being completed by skilled, trained professionals.
Today, however, we are going to talk about one maintenance step that you can—nay, must—handle on your own, and why it is actually one of the most important maintenance tasks around. We’re talking about changing your air filter, and if you use a forced air heating system, this is an absolute necessity. So read on, enjoy this refresher, and remember to contact a member of our staff if you have any questions about how to change your filter.
What Does This Filter Do?
Well, it filters the air, right? Sure, but there is still some confusion about why it does so. For instance, a lot of homeowners are under the impression that the air filters in their heating systems are actually there to boost indoor air quality throughout their homes. This is not really the case, though. Instead, this filter serves to protect the system itself against problems that can be caused by pollutants building up on sensitive components in that heating system.
So, even if the air quality in your home does not seem to be suffering, that does not mean that the air filter in your heating system is acceptable or clean enough. What types of problems might a very dirty air filter lead to? Most of them are directly related to airflow resistance.
The Problems of Airflow Resistance
Adding an air filter to a forced air system will, inherently, create some amount of airflow resistance. This is not a problem until you hit a certain point of airflow resistance. Then, it becomes a big problem. The first reason why you may run into issues related to high airflow resistance is that you’ve let your filter go too long and it’s gotten too dirty. The second is that your air filter is actually too efficient for your system. Remember, if better indoor air quality is your goal, you’ll want a designated air filtration system, not a filter so efficient that your HVAC system cannot handle it. So what types of problems are we looking at?
- Reduced energy efficiency. The harder that your system has to work in order to force air throughout your home, the more energy it is going to use in doing so. Don’t overpay for your comfort when you could just be more diligent about changing your air filter as needed.
- Reduced indoor air quality. Wait, didn’t we just say that the filter isn’t really there to benefit indoor air quality? Yes, but a very dirty filter can still lead to IAQ issues. The filter may create so much airflow resistance that unfiltered air forces around the filter, allowing pollutants to bypass it entirely!
- Reduced reliability. As your system overheats due to the dirty filter, or the coil ices up due to insufficient airflow, the system can start to short cycle. This means it turns on and off too rapidly. That takes a toll, causing a lot of wear and tear, and your system can suffer damages as a result.