Dirty Furnace Filters Cause Fall & Winter Heating Problems
Posted on November 17, 2019
Furnace filters are how the heating and air conditioning system breathes. As air passes through furnace filters, solid particles of different sizes are captured. Clean air, on the other side of these furnace filters, is then cooled or heated before reentering the home. In effect, furnace filters accomplish two things. First, it cleans and purifies home air of harmful particles and bothersome allergens. Second, it protects the heating and air conditioning system from damaging buildup. When furnace filters are able to do these two things, homeowners have better air conditioning, cleaner air, a longer lasting central air system and improved energy spending.
However, problems arise when the heating and air conditioning system works on dirty furnace filters. Dirty furnace filters are overused furnace filters, which means they are completely packed. Much like the lint screen in the clothes dryer, furnace filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly in order to function correctly. Working the central air system on dirty furnace filters causes two major problems. When furnace filters are full, they are unable to capture and separate particles from the air. Less air is able to pass through these furnace filters. Consequently, what air does make it through the furnace filters are dirty. With not enough air to for a balanced heat transfer, the furnace overheats. In turn, the entire system shuts down. From here on out, the furnace will not turn back on for operation until a technician resets the limit switch. The limit switch is a trigger that shuts down the furnace from operation when it detects an impending threat. In this case, it is when the system heats higher than the safe temperature.
The second problem dirty furnace filters cause shows up frequently in the summer. Dirty filters cause frozen evaporator coils. Evaporator coils are used for the air conditioning process. Their function is to hold compressed refrigerant, and because of the constant energy transfer they also coat with water. When dirty air passes over these sticky coils, buildup accumulates. As a result, soggy pieces freeze over the evaporator coils. With each cycle through dirty furnace filters, the ice grows thicker and thicker until the system can no longer operate. This is a messy situation for homeowners. In order to resolve frozen evaporator coils, the ice must thaw. Unfortunately, this generally results in serious water damage.
Changing furnace filters is very simple. It is a task homeowners can do without the supervision of their heating and air conditioning technicians. How often do homeowners need to change furnace filters? It all depends on the demands of the home. You can run a quick color test to see if furnace filters need replacement. Furnace filters are large window-like boxes. The outer frame is often made of plastic or cardboard, and white in color. The center portion is pleated, resembling felt or cotton. Check to see the difference in color. Since the outer frame is generally white, if the center filter is much darker than the white frame, it’s a good time to change furnace filters. It may take some experimentation to see just how often furnace filters need to be changed, especially since each home is different.
At Ski Brothers Heat and Air, we change the air filter when you call us to inspect your furnace in preparation for Fall and Winter use. Call us at 501-434-4622 today to schedule a heating system tune up for only $69.99! It's a budget minded way of preventing nearly 30% of all heat related calls.