Do you ever find your home has a musty odor that increases the minute you turn on your furnace or flip on your air exchange system?
Maybe you just did your housework, which includes dusting, only a day before; you can see the dust and woolies on every surface. Or maybe your problem is more on the health-related side of the spectrum and you find yourself in constant need of a nasal spray and lubricating eye drops the moment your furnace or central air system starts up. This can be a hassle to deal with, it’s irritating and it’s costly if you are buying expensive eye drops or dust replacement pads.
A Closer Look
So, when experiencing any of these issues or all of them at once, it could be because it is time to change the filters of both the central air system and the furnace. These filters have a limited life and should be either cleaned or replaced as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Maybe you are one of those people who didn’t realize your filter would need replacing and it has never been looked at, let alone cleaned.
So what is the difference between your air filter and your furnace filter? Are they the same and serve the same purpose? Is one better than the other? Why do you need a filter? Let’s find out together!
Why Do You Need a Filter? Pros and Cons
Depending on the installation setup of your home, there is a possibility that your air filter and furnace filter will be one and the same. Some homes have a system that will use the same filter and others will have a system that is separately housed but share ductwork and that is it. Some furnace models, especially older ones, will have a filter directly in the furnace itself, so it is important to ensure that an air filter is present for the central air system.
So why do you need an air filter and/or a furnace filter? There are a few reasons that these are so important and can be seen below.
The air filter is used primarily when the central air system (the air exchanger and air conditioner) is in use and draws the air from the home into the system to be cleansed by the filter before sending it back out into the atmosphere at a cooler temperature.
This cleansing process involves removing dust mites or other allergens and bacteria that are commonly found in a household before sending them back into the atmosphere. Using a new and proper air filter will allow the occupants of the home to breathe clean air and control the air quality. If during the warmer months, you love to open your windows and breathe in the fresh air, an air exchanger is a great way to remove allergens or pollen from your home. People who have existing respiratory issues should notice a reduction in symptoms once the air filter is either cleaned or replaced.
A clogged air filter can also affect the performance of your air exchanger and/or air conditioner. Overheating can become common because the internal components of the system are in overdrive to move the air past the clogged filter causing a failure in the system. Then costly repairs are needed or depending on the level of damage? Complete replacement.
The furnace filter serves the same purpose as the air filter as it removes dust, allergens, bacteria, and even germs from the air that is drawn into the furnace from the home. This air is what is heated to a desired temperature before it is sent by the use of a blower and fan system into each room via ductwork to ward off the chill of colder months. This air can be heated via propane, electricity, wood, or even oil but without a proper filtration system; the air is warm but it isn’t clean.
A clogged or dirty furnace filter can cause issues in the performance of the furnace as the air from the home is unable to make it through the canals to the heating elements. Once it does, the endurance needs to work harder to push the heated air back through the canals to be sent throughout the house.
This means that you are suddenly burning more oil or wood, using a high level of propane, or burning through more electricity and it shows on the monthly bills. Overheating can also happen which can burn through the internal operating system of the furnace and suddenly the motor or blower gives up completely or the sensors that gauge the temperature of the air are kaput and need to be replaced at a significant cost.
Now that we have discovered how both the air filter and furnace filter affect our air quality, it is easy to see the important role that each of them plays in the household. To ensure that the air you and your loved ones are breathing in on a daily basis, regardless of the month or system in use, you need to have some sort of filtration in place. The air filter and the furnace filter will remove any allergens or bacteria from the air you are breathing, allowing for a more restful sleep and an alert morning!
Consult the instruction manual that came with your central air system and the booklet that would have been included with your furnace to schedule when your filters are going to be either cleaned or changed. When filters are clogged with germs and dust, the operating performance of both the central air system and the furnace is affected. Overheating can happen due to the machine working overtime to reach its criteria of clean air and these over-workings can be seen on your monthly utility bill.
There are numerous allergens and germs that exist in the air all around us, from outdoors to work to the grocery store. Shouldn’t we have one place that we can go knowing we are breathing the cleanest air we possibly can?