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Prevent a $300+ Furnace Breakdown By Looking for This $4 Mistake

Prevent a $300+ Furnace Breakdown By Looking for This $4 Mistake

The $4 mistake? A dirty air filter (The cost of a replacement furnace filter costs around $4).

That’s right—that little rectangular thing made of tightly woven fiberglass can cause big (and expensive) problems for your poor furnace.

And based on the average furnace repair cost, you could be looking at a $300 bill if you don’t replace that air filter ASAP.

We’ll explain what happens when you don’t regularly replace your furnace filter. We’ll also cover where your furnace filter is located and how often you should change it.

We get it—replacing dirty filters is an easily forgotten task. Let us do it for you during a routine maintenance visit.

How a dirty filter can cause a furnace breakdown

Once your air filter is dirty, it traps heat inside the furnace which can cause all sorts of expensive furnace problems.

You see, your furnace air filter is designed to trap any air contaminants (i.e. dirt, dust, pollen, etc) before they float into your furnace system. The bad news is that filters have no way of dumping out those tiny pollutants once they get caught, which means eventually, the filter will become dirty and clogged.

And once your air filter is clogged, it actually starts suffocating your furnace. Think about it this way: a clogged filter is a lot like trying to breathe with a thick blanket over your mouth and nose. Eventually, that will cause huge problems, right?

The same goes for your furnace—suffocating your system with a clogged filter will eventually cause expensive problems such as:

  • A cracked heat exchanger (a $4,000+ repair)
  • A burnt out blower motor (a $300+ repair)
  • A failed electronic “limit switch” (a $75+ repair)

The solution? Check and change your furnace filter regularly

Our professional suggestion? If you have a standard fiberglass filter, check it every 1–3 months and change it if it looks like the one to the right below:

Dirty filter on the right, clean filter on the left

Have a thicker filter than the one you see above? Then we suggest checking it more frequently (like once a month). Thicker filters often have higher MERVs (measurement for how small of contaminants a filter can capture). The higher the MERV of a filter, the more contaminants it can capture, which means it will clog up faster.

“Where is my furnace filter?”

Your furnace filter is usually located in one of the following 2 spots:

  1. Return grill
  2. At the air handler

Your return grille looks like the vent below and is usually located on the ceiling or on a wall in your home. If your home has more than one of these larger return vents, that most likely means that your filter is instead located at the furnace air handler.

A return grille on the ceiling

Your air handler, on the other hand, is usually located in your home’s attic or basement. Once you locate the air handler, look for an inch-wide slot that has a removable cover. This is where you can pull out the current filter, inspect it and replace it if needed.

Need help finding or replacing your furnace filter?

We can help. Just contact us and we’ll send over a professional.

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