A furnace filter doesn’t just purify your air, it keeps the inner mechanisms of your HVAC system functioning properly. If your run a furnace without a filter, it can be bad for your health and indoor air quality. Keeping a clean filter in your furnace ensures the unit operates efficiently and can keep dirt, dander, and debris from circulating back through your home.
A furnace filter is critical to keep your indoor air quality pristine and maximize the lifespan of your furnace. These filters are easy to change, making this a quick, painless home maintenance task that drastically improves furnace airflow.
Importance of a Furnace Filter
The air in your home is first sucked into the furnace through a blower fan. Next, air passes through the air filter before it’s heated and recirculated back into your home. The filter consists of tightly woven fiberglass, paper, or cloth elements. This creates a semipermeable blockade that traps harmful particles.
A clogged air filter prevents air from flowing through the system which can lead to:
- Cold indoor temperatures even with the heat turned on
- Poor airflow
- Expensive utility bills
- Worn-down HVAC system
- Overheated furnace
Is it Bad to Run a Furnace Without a Filter?
If you run a furnace without a filter for one night, it won’t affect your HVAC system detrimentally. However, the longer you run your heating system without an air filter, the more contaminants accumulate inside your heating unit inner mechanisms.
The two main reasons you shouldn’t run a furnace without a filter are that your furnace could break down suddenly and that air will be filled with contaminants that are unsafe to breathe in. If your heater goes out in the middle of winter due to a clogged air filter, call the HVAC professionals at John C. Flood immediately.
Risks of Running Your Furnace Without a Filter
The purpose of a furnace air filter is to keep your HVAC system in pristine condition, especially the blower motor and evaporator coils. If you choose to run the furnace without a filter installed, several potential problems can arise and lead to the breakdown of your heating system.
Poor Air Quality
The most prevalent issue that stems from running a furnace without a filter is poor indoor air quality. Dust is stirred in a home when the furnace continually cycles the air. Debris is sucked back up through the intake, pumped back through the air vents, and remains suspended in the air until it is inhaled or accumulates within the HVAC unit.
Without a filter, pollutants and air toxins will travel throughout the ductwork. The debris will accumulate inside the ductwork, becoming trapped by the ribbed aluminum tubes. This accumulation will harbor moisture within the ductwork, creating the ideal conditions for mold to grow. Mold spores will begin to circulate throughout your home whenever the HVAC system is running and be extremely dangerous to occupants within the household.
How Often Should You Replace a Furnace Air Filter?
Check your HVAC filter once a month to ensure it’s not clogged, especially during the heavy-use winter months. Whenever the filter appears dirty, it’s important to replace it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months to improve heating efficiency.
A dirty filter will restrict airflow, make your heating system work harder, and increase your utility bill. How often to replace furnace filter depends on the size of the home. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system which can lead to expensive maintenance and your system breaking down prematurely. If your furnace is not blowing hot air, it’s important to check the air filter.
How To Change Your Furnace Filter
1. Locate your filter
Shut off your furnace to be safe before opening up your furnace. The furnace filter is either inside the furnace itself or inside the return air vent. Remove the service panel to view the filter. Check the furnace manual if you cannot locate the filter.
2. Identify the replacement filter type
Disposable filters usually have flimsy cardboard frame, whereas filters with a plastic frame are typically reusable. The frame of the old filter should display the size, which can vary depending on the unit size and model. Reference your furnace manual to determine what type, size, and thickness of filter you need for your home’s furnace.
3. Remove the old filter
If you have a new filter, throw away your disposable filter and replace it. If your filter is reusable, wash it off and replace it. Your old filter should have arrows noting what direction the air flows. This is to help you insert the new filter the same way.
4. Secure the new filter in place
Remove packaging from the new filter so the air can flow through. Slide the filter into place, ensuring the arrows on the frame point the same direction as the previous filter. Close the service panel and turn the furnace on.
Contact John C. Flood to Breathe Better and Stay Warm.
If you choose to run a furnace without a filter, you leave your heating system susceptible to dirt and debris that will inevitably lead to expensive repairs and a premature death of your HVAC system.
It’s important to understand what heating system is best your your home in order to pick the best furnace air filter. Whether you want to know how much a furnace inspection costs or get your furnace filter replaced, contact John C. Flood for the best value and highest quality heating system maintenance.
Trust your home to the John C. Flood team to ensure your air quality is top-notch. Our HVAC professionals will take care of all your furnace filter maintenance. HVAC systems are complex and require routine inspections and annual maintenance. Schedule your HVAC inspection today!