It’s recommended that homeowners have a professional furnace inspection before the mercury drops into long underwear season for good. In fact, many manufacturers require this as a prerequisite to stay complacent in your warranty agreement. A furnace that isn’t cleaned of debris on a regular basis, doesn’t have its moving parts lubricated annually, or isn’t inspected for wiring or component damage before it becomes a major issue is obviously going to have a lower-than-expected life span.
While the annual inspection is required to be done by a professional, this doesn’t mean the homeowner is devoid of responsibilities during the Winter. Specifically, it’s critical that you change your air filters up to at least once every 30 days. It’s not known if some homeowners forget about this, aren’t aware of it to begin with, or are just afraid to go into their dungeon of a basement but here is why changing your air filters is a MUST.
Better Air Quality
During the cold weather our homes are basically a sealed fortress. The only air escaping or entering the house comes from the split second we dash out the front door to start cars, shovel snow, drive to the airport to fly to Jamaica for 3 months, etc. This means the indoor air quality of your home is very much at risk during the Winter.
A dirty furnace air filter blocks the circulation of air within the house. This means that dirt, dander, and debris have more of an opportunity to settle on furniture, shelves, cabinets, and in duct work. More of this debris settles and settles until eventually when (if) you do change the filter, it gets kicked around at every furnace cycle. Even the buildup of debris on the filter promotes more moisture to gather which eventually kicks mold and mildew throughout the home.
Lower Utility Bills
When air doesn’t flow as easily through a dirty, old filter it means that the blower motor has to work extra hard to meet the demands of the thermostat. This results in longer furnace cycling which drives up already high heating costs. Additionally, when HVAC components have to work harder, they don’t last as long. Failure to replace a $12 air filter could be costing you hundreds in furnace repairs or thousands in an early HVAC replacement.
More Comfortable Home
Besides the ability to breathe better, changing your filter creates a more comfortable (warm) home. With an efficient air flow the ducts have enough intake air to properly reach every room in the home. When that flow is low thanks to a wall of debris preventing air from entering, some rooms can be downright cold during the Winter.
Knowing When to Change Your Filter
You can take the safe route and change your filter every 30 days in the Winter. Beyond that, if you hold the filter up to the light and can barely see illumination shining through it’s time to replace. If you have pets or consider yourself an allergy sufferer there’s no such thing as replacing your air filter too often.