Aside from an annual inspection, furnaces, air conditioning units, heat pumps and similar appliances need very little routine maintenance. The one frequent maintenance task that furnaces or other appliances do need is for the filter to be changed according to manufacturer recommendations. While changing the filter is important, it is often neglected by many homeowners. However, understanding the problems that a clogged filter can cause may help homeowners in the High Desert to keep the filter changed as needed.
When a furnace filter is clogged with dust and debris, the flow of air through the unit is restricted. This restriction will result in less airflow throughout the home. The reduced airflow will cause wasted energy as the heated or cooled air will not properly circulate through the home. Not only will a clogged filter cause cold spots in the home, but it will also result in the furnace needing to run longer to warm the house.
The heating fan in a furnace or other similar appliance has the difficult job of moving air from a central location to the far reaches of the home. While these fans are designed to do the job for years, or even decades, a fan has to work much harder to pull the air through a clogged filter. By working harder, the fan will be under a heavier load and will work at a higher temperature. The heavier load and higher temperature will increase the wear on the fan and significantly reduce its expected service life.
Neglecting to keep a filter properly changed can result in large buildups of dust, dirt and related debris inside the furnace. Over time, this buildup can extend from the filter area to the heated parts of the furnace. While it is unlikely, it is possible for the accumulated dust to actually catch fire which could result in a catastrophic home fire. Accumulated dust is also likely to cause the furnace to omit odor out into the house.
Indoor Air Quality
As an HVAC filter clogs with debris, more and more debris will pass through the filter. The debris that gets past the filter will then be blown out into the home where it can cause allergies and other respiratory problems. The dust will also settle on items in the house. For those with asthma or other chronic respiratory problems, special filters are available to remove smaller particles from the air.