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Serving All of Southern California Since 1954


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Greenleaf Heating & Cooling Blog

“Will a Dirty Air Filter Hurt My Furnace?”


If you’re one of many homeowners in our area who uses a furnace for your home’s heat, then you know how satisfying it is when the system kicks on and provides you with all the heat you need. True, it doesn’t get as cold here as it does in other parts of the country, but still, when you want your heater to work, you want your heater to work!

However, there are some things you might be doing that can have a negative impact on your furnace. For instance, not changing your air filter can lead to problems. We’re talking about the air filter that comes standard with your HVAC systems. These should be changed every 1-3 months depending on the type of filter and the level of contaminants in your home. For example, a home with pet hair and/or cigarette smoke will have different needs than a home without either of these things.

But what really happens when you fail to change the air filter and instead leave a dirty filter in place? Read on to find out.

The Purpose of the Air Filter

Although you can’t always see it, there is a large amount of debris and dust that can circulate throughout your home. This debris ultimately settles in the ductwork system of your HVAC units. If debris enters the furnace itself, it can cause some significant problems.

The sole purpose of this air filter is to prevent your furnace from being damaged by anything that can get inside. It’s important that you regularly change the air filter, as the air filters are not able to rid themselves of the particles that they have accumulated. If the air filters get too clogged up, airflow into the system becomes restricted, therefore causing issues, such as:

Decreased System Efficiency

When the air filter gets too clogged up, the furnace struggles to circulate heated air through the home, since there’s more resistance than is normal, which decreases overall efficiency.

Additionally, a dirty air filter can cause your furnace to short cycle. This is the process where your heater turns on and off rapidly instead of running in longer intervals like it’s meant to.

When this happens, heat gets trapped inside the furnace, causing the internal temperature to rise. This activates the limit switch, causing your furnace to shut off as a safety measure. Your heater uses the most energy starting up, so the more it has to start up, the more you’re paying in energy bills.

Increased Repair Needs

You can expect that your furnace will be subjected to more wear and tear when it has to work harder to do its job. This will eventually lead to operational issues, and eventually, cause a system breakdown.

We know better than anyone that repair bills tend to cost more than the average maintenance bill. Replacing your air filter on a regular basis is far easier than dealing with a system breakdown!

Of course, if you do find yourself in need of heating repair, we’re the team to call.

For professional heating repair in Torrance, CA, look no further than Greenleaf Heating & Cooling. Contact us today!

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