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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

What a Clogged Filter Can Do to Your Furnace

pleated-air-filterThe air filter on the HVAC cabinet of your home has a vital job to do—and it isn’t connected to the quality of the air circulating through the house. People often have this misunderstanding: they hear the word filter an imagine the mesh of the filter trapping unhealthy particles in it. You can have HVAC technicians install special indoor air quality filters into the ductwork to remove contaminants from the house—but the one already in place isn’t doing that job.

So what is the filter for? It protects the furnace and air conditioner inside the HVAC cabinet from the dust, lint, and other debris that comes through the return air ducts. After one to three months, the filter will collect enough debris that it must be replaced with a clean one. It’s easy to forget to do this, but we strongly urge you to set reminders for yourself about it. If you leave a clogged filter in place this winter, it can have negative effects on your furnace and lead to furnace repair in Lebanon, OH.

The Furnace Troubles a Clogged Filter Causes

Here are a few of the problems a clogged filter can inflict on your furnace:

  • Inefficiency: The most notable effect of a congested filter left in place is that it lowers the energy efficiency of the furnace. The blower fan must work much harder to draw the air necessary to run through the return air ducts when the filter is clogged up, and the furnace in general must run longer to reach its normal heating levels. When you notice a rise in your utility bills during the winter that you can’t account for, you may need to put in a new furnace filter.
  • Increased wear and tear: When the components of the furnace have to work more and work harder to do the same job, it puts additional strain on it. This can mean a shortened equipment lifespan.
  • Tripped circuit breakers: Yes, even if you have a gas furnace, it can still trip the circuit breaker. The blower fan runs off electricity, and when a clogged filter puts too much strain on the fan it will overload the circuit, trip a breaker, and shut the furnace off. Whenever your HVAC system flips a circuit breaker, check on the filter to see if that’s the source of the problem.
  • Furnace overheats: A clogged filter can trap too much heat inside the furnace, and this will lead to the limit switch shutting the system down.
  • Dust and debris getting inside: The purpose of a filter can be defeated if it’s allowed to clog. As the air flow strains against the clogged filter, the filter will begin to distort and open up gaps along the edges. Dust, lint, and other contaminants will begin to get inside the furnace and lead to damage to parts like the motors.
  • Collapsed filter: In extreme cases, the pressure on the clogged filter will cause it to collapse—this is more common with pleated filters, which are otherwise the more powerful filter. A collapsed filter will fall into the blower fan and cause extensive damage.

Call on Bartels Heating & Cooling “For a Comfortable Way of Life.” We have 24-hour emergency service available.

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