Many homeowners may not know this, but every furnace is equipped with an air filter installed in the blower return duct. This air filter is a small, simple part of the system. It’s no surprise that it escapes the notice of many homeowners, who don’t often have any reason to thoroughly examine the inside of their furnaces. Small though it may be, the air filter is actually a vital part of keeping your furnace healthy.
Let’s take a look at how the air filter keeps your furnace safe, and what can happen if you neglect it.
The Air Filter
There are a lot of particles that circulate through the average home that, if they were to infiltrate the furnace, would damage it. Things like dust, pollen, mold, and the like could wreak havoc on the system if they were allowed to blow directly into it. So the air filter is installed to catch all of these particles before they can enter the system. As the air flows through the filter, any contaminants being blown along become trapped in the fibers. The air itself passes through the filter and into the system.
The one problem with the air filter is that it needs to be cleaned or replaced every 1–3 months. If this is not done, the air filter will become so clogged with particulates that it restricts the air flow into the furnace. That’s when problems start occurring.
Restricted air flow into the furnace will cause the temperature to rise until the system overheats. This activates the limit switch, which shuts down the system as a safety measure. When the furnace cools off enough to restart, the clogged air filter causes it to overheat again and be shut down again. This continuous on/off cycle is called “short-cycling,” and is extremely damaging to the furnace. The strain of turning itself on and off constantly puts the furnace at an increased risk of breaking down, as well as shortening its lifespan. If you notice your furnace short-cycling, turn it off immediately and call us to schedule a repair appointment.
If you have any problems with your furnace, call Roznovak. We provide heating installation and repair services throughout Austin, TX.