Why Change The Furnace Filter?

Do You Change The Filter To

Maintain Occupant Air Quality?

Many people have the misconception that the furnace filter's primary purpose is air quality for the inhabitants, it's not. The primary purpose of the filter is to protect the mechanical equipment. 

How Often Should I Change The Filter?

 Depending upon usage, furnace filters should be checked every three months and replaced when they reach a condition in which accumulation of particles becomes so thick that particles may be blown loose from the filter and into indoor air. Homes in areas with high indoor levels of airborne pollen or dust may need to have air filters checked and changed more frequently. Failure to change the filter when needed may result in the following problems:

 This is an example of a filter that likely hasn't been changed in five years.

This is an example of a filter that likely hasn't been changed in five years.

What Happens If I Neglect To

Change The Furnace Filter?

Failure to change the filter when needed may result in the following problems:
1.reduced blower life due to dirt build-up on vanes, which
2.increased operating costs; 
3.reduced indoor air quality; 
4.increased resistance, resulting in the filter being sucked into the blower; this condition can be a potential fire hazard; 
5.frost build-up on air-conditioner evaporator coils, resulting in reduced cooling efficiency and possible damage; and
6.reduced air flow through the home.

The Furnace Filter Should Be Sized Correctly

The air filter for this furnace was the wrong size. This condition can allow particulates to pass beyond the filter and into indoor air or may result in the filter being sucked into the blower, causing damage to the blower and creating a potential fire hazard.

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These Pictures Are An Example Of A Very Poor Installation Of A Heat Pump Furnace In San Diego, CA

While doing a home inspection in San Diego, I came across this poorly thought out installation of the air handler. 

 The air handler was installed in the ceiling and access via a drop-down panel in the bathroom

The air handler was installed in the ceiling and access via a drop-down panel in the bathroom

 The contractor fabricated his own access panel for the filter. It was taped in place, which discourages filter changing.

The contractor fabricated his own access panel for the filter. It was taped in place, which discourages filter changing.

 The disconnect for the air handler was installed in such a manner that it prevented the removal of the filter without damaging it. Which could be why it was probably never changed.

The disconnect for the air handler was installed in such a manner that it prevented the removal of the filter without damaging it. Which could be why it was probably never changed.

Watch This Little Video, And I Will Describe This Part Of The Home Inspection For You

I hope this helped you understand the importance of changing the furnace filter. Also, don't waste your money on the expensive high efficiency filters. The experts recommend using the less restrictive cheap filters because they cause less strain on your mechanical system. Remember, it's not about air quality, it's about protecting the mechanicals.

About the author: Frank Rotte is the Founder of Certified Inspection Services, LLC in Bonsall, CA. Comments are always welcome! Please visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homeinspectionsandiego/