24/7 Emergency Service

clean furnace air filter next to dirty furnace air filter

What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Air Filter?

Like most people, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the filters in your HVAC system.

But taking the time to replace them regularly is a smart move with many benefits. Just like an oil change keeps your car running smoothly, clean air filters will keep your air conditioner and furnace operating at peak efficiency.

Indoor air contains many contaminants such as dust, pollen, lint, mold, hair, pet dander and bacteria. An air filter traps these substances to keep them from circulating in your home. It also protects fans, coils and other system components from build-up of dust and debris.  

Over time, however, those same contaminants will clog the filter and block airflow through your system. This will harm indoor air quality and damage system components, leading to unnecessary costs and potentially affecting your health. 

But you can avoid these problems by simply replacing your dirty filter with a clean one on a regular basis. Here are some of the issues you may be noticing if you’ve been putting off this important habit.

Higher Energy Costs

Installing a clean air filter is actually an investment that pays off in the form of lower energy bills.

A clogged filter blocks the air from flowing freely through your home. It also causes the air to move more slowly through your air ducts. This forces your system to run longer and consume more energy just to heat and cool your home than it would with a clean filter in place. As a result, you end up paying higher utility bills with no meaningful improvement in comfort or efficiency.

Less Efficient Heating & Cooling

The longer you leave a dirty filter in place, the less comfortable your home will feel. 

Poor airflow makes it harder for your air conditioner or furnace to regulate indoor temperature. A tell-tale sign of this is when you notice the temperature changing as you move from one room to the next. Changing the filter on schedule will reduce the problem of hot spots and cold spots. 

More Frequent Repairs & Replacement

Did you know clogged air filters are one of the leading causes of HVAC failure? 

When your filter is clogged, dust and debris will accumulate on the fan blade, coils, crevices and other system components. This causes more wear and tear, which leads to more frequent repairs and reduces the lifespan of your furnace or AC unit. Replacing your filter is one of the easiest ways to avoid those frequent service calls. 

Lower Indoor Air Quality

If you’re having a harder time keeping your furniture dust-free, it may be time to change your air filter. 

Poor airflow means particles will build up more quickly on furniture, floors, crevices and other indoor surfaces. This can also lead to excess moisture build-up, odors, mold and discoloration of walls and furniture. 

Possible Health Effects

Believe it or not, changing your air filter is also part of a healthy lifestyle. 

That’s because poor indoor air quality harms your respiratory system. You may notice an increase in coughing and sneezing even if you don’t have an illness like COVID-19 or the common cold. Other symptoms associated with a clogged air filter may include headaches, watery eyes, sore throat and dizziness. People with asthma, allergies and similar conditions are also at an increased risk of worsening symptoms. 

How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

It’s a good idea to check your air filter once a month to make sure it’s still clean enough to allow proper air flow. 

As for how often to replace it, that will vary based on the individual filter and characteristics of your home. If your home has no pets, once every 90 days should be sufficient. If you have furry friends living indoors, every 60 days is recommended. People with allergies or other respiratory conditions may benefit from changing the filter as often as 20 to 45 days. 

Be sure to purchase a new filter in the same size as the old one. Check the arrow on the filter to ensure that you’re placing it in the right direction. Another good rule of thumb is to place the “rougher” looking side away from the system, as that is the side that collects contaminants. 

If you have questions or if you’re in need of HVAC service, get in touch with your friends at Lorenz Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning. Give us a call at 417-863-1122 or reach out to us online.