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What Might Go Wrong Because of a Clogged Furnace Filter

Regular maintenance for a furnace is a job entirely for HVAC professionals… almost. It takes training and special equipment to handle tasks such as tightening connections, inspecting heat exchangers, cleaning burners, etc. The one task that you can handle yourself is one that your technician will do during the fall maintenance visit, but which you will need to do on your own for the rest of the winter: regularly changing the furnace filter.

The Trouble with a Clogged Filter

The maintenance technician can show you where the filter is located and how to change it, as well as how often. (Frequency depends on the type of filter. Less expensive panel filters will need to be changed every month, while stronger pleated filters may go for three months.) If you don’t change the filter in time, it will collect thick clogs of dust, lint, and other debris, leading to one or more of the following problems:

  • Energy waste: A clogged filter is basically choking the air supply for the furnace’s blower fan. The blower fan will strain to pull in the air it needs to run, and this drains power. An energy-efficient furnace will quickly turn into a massive energy waster if the congested filter remains in place.
  • Overheating furnace: Without a steady flow of air through the furnace’s plenum, the chamber will become too hot and trigger the furnace’s limit switch, shutting the system off. This prevents further damage as well as safety issues, but it’s still not something you want to happen.
  • Damaged internal components: The filter’s primary job is to keep particles from entering the furnace cabinet and harming motors and other parts. But when the filter is clogged, the pull on it will cause it to stretch, and dust and debris can slip around the edges. The longer a clogged filter remains, the less effective it will be at its job.

Make sure that you start out the winter right: call Air Creations, Inc. in Westfield, NJ and arrange for furnace maintenance. Trust to our team to show you how to care for the filter and keep your furnace in top shape until spring.

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