Changing the air filter on your furnace or AC is one of the most important yet most overlooked basic home maintenance tasks. It is generally recommended that you change your air filter once a month, or when they begin to look dirty. However, more than one homeowner has asked us if this is really necessary, indicating that they don’t understand how much their filter does for them.  

While it may not seem like a big deal to wait a few months between filter replacements, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when the system is neglected in this way. Today we’re going to take a look at what happens if you do not change your air filter regularly.

Your Indoor Air Quality Gets Worse, Fast

In addition to keeping dirt and debris out of your HVAC system, your air filter helps to keep you and your family from breathing in harmful contaminants.  When you don’t change your air filter, it becomes clogged and is no longer able to filter out dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander and other particles. Dust, dirt and other pollutants will start to recirculate through your house. As the number of particles in your air increases, the quality of the air inside of your home decreases.

Your House Isn’t As Comfortable

A clogged air filter restricts airflow, leading to inconsistent temperatures throughout your home. This is because the air flow is too weak to push the conditioned air all the way through your duct system. Without adequate airflow, rooms further away from your HVAC equipment will feel colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. If you have noticed that some rooms in your home are warmer or cooler than others, cleaning or changing your filter may be a quick and inexpensive fix to an uncomfortable problem.  

Your Out Of Pocket Expenses Go Up  

Restricted airflow puts extra strain on your HVAC system, meaning it must use more energy to heat or cool your home. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, a dirty filter can increase your energy costs by up to 15%. A similar study by the Florida Public Service Commission found that a clogged filter was the leading contributor to high energy bills.   

An increase in your utility bill isn’t the only out of pocket expense associated with a dirty filter. Nine out of 10 system failures are due to excessive dirt buildup within the system. When your air filter gets clogged, dirt and debris accumulate inside the system. The combination of blocked airflow and dirt buildup is a recipe for disaster that can cause system components to fail and lead to expensive repairs.

Your HVAC System Must Be Replaced

Even worse than an increase in your utility bill or unexpected repair costs is the cost of a new system. According to the Diamond Certified Organization, a clogged furnace filter is the primary cause of equipment failure. An air filter that isn’t changed regularly can cause irreversible internal damage to your HVAC system, which means you will have to replace the system earlier than expected.  

Play It Safe, Replace Your Filter

The air filter in your HVAC system performs an important dual role by keeping your home comfortable and healthy while also maximizing your system’s efficiency. Regularly replacing your air filter helps to lower the risk of indoor air pollution, improves your comfort and keeps your out of pocket expenses down.

Many thermostats have a filter display alert option to let you know when the filter needs to be replaced. If your thermostat does not have this option, simply set up a reminder in your smartphone or on your calendar to check your filter every 30 days. Visually compare your filter to a new one to determine if a replacement is necessary. If it is, you can change your air filter in less than 20 minutes. 

If you have changed your air filter, but think your HVAC system still needs help, call Trademark Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning at (208) 772-5269 to schedule a diagnostic inspection.