What happens if you leave a dirty air filter in your furnace? When the air filter gets too full of dirt, allergens, mold spores, and other airborne debris, it puts stress on the furnace. The furnace relies on proper airflow; after all it creates warm air and needs to pump it throughout your home. Eventually, this stress can break parts of your furnace, resulting in costly repairs.
So if you’re trying to get a little extra life out of your filter to save a few bucks, here’s why you should think twice. Here are six common furnace problems caused by a dirty air filter.
1. Furnace Overheating
When the air filter restricts airflow through the furnace, it can’t effectively get the heat that it generates to the rest of the home. Instead, the heat stays near the furnace. In severe cases, this build-up of heat can overheat the furnace and trigger a safety shut-off. Your furnace won’t turn back on until the heat has dissipated, and the problem will re-occur. You need a professional to change the filter and reset the furnace.
2. Cracked Heat Exchanger
All of that built-up heat can also stress out the heat exchanger, which can then crack. This is, unfortunately, one of the most expensive repairs that a furnace can need. If you end up with a cracked heat exchanger, it is almost always better to simply replace the whole unit because you’ll be paying for a very large portion of the price anyway.
3. Damaged Blower Motor
The blower motor runs the fan inside of the furnace, which is supposed to disperse heat throughout your home. However, if the clogged air filter puts too much pressure on the blower motor by restricting airflow, then the blower motor will be damaged. It will not spread heat through the home evenly. It may eventually stop working altogether.
4. Dirty Furnace Burners
The air filter is supposed to collect airborne debris instead of allowing it through into the rest of the furnace. If it doesn’t do its job, then debris can collect on the furnace burners. This can significantly undermine the ability of the burners to use your fuel efficiently, and that means your furnace will use much more fuel than it needs to. Eventually, dirty furnace burners may stop working altogether.
5. Excess Energy Usage
Besides dirty furnace burners, many of the other items on this list can cause your furnace to start using much more fuel than normal. A stress blower motor will demand more fuel, as can a damaged heat exchanger. Your utility bills can rise dramatically if you leave an over-full filter in your furnace.
6. Poor Air Quality
This isn’t so much a problem with the furnace, but it is still something important to note. Furnace filters that are overfull won’t take any of the debris out of your air. Instead, they will start to release debris into your air ducts and spread it throughout your home. You may need to clean your ducts earlier and you may notice a reduction in the quality of your home’s air.
A professional HVAC technician can solve these problems for you and let you know how often you need to change your furnace filter to avoid these issues. Contact us if you’re looking for a dependable heating contractor in Turlock, Tracy, Modesto, or anywhere in between.