What Happens If You Don’t Have A Filter In Your Furnace?

Is it better to use cheap furnace filters?
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The cunning winter chills call for your full preparation. It might look as though you have got everything figured out from winter wear to some good old firewood for your furnace all set in place. You got to love it when the plan perfectly works together. Until all of a sudden, this perfect harmony vanishes into thin air with the discovery of a malfunctioning heating system.

A thorough inspection leads you to a damaged filter. This has got you wondering if it is possible to run your furnace without this part. I mean, can you run a furnace without a filter? Go ahead and fasten your seat belt as I take you through the ride coming with answers to this question.

What Happens If You Do Not Have A Filter In Your Furnace?

The seemingly not so crucial furnace filter is vital for maintaining good indoor air quality and maximizing furnace lifespan. It also improves the furnace’s efficiency. Thus a furnace without one of these babies will not serve its purpose or operate effectively. Here is what to expect if you happen to run your heating system without a filter:

●      Poor Air Quality

This is usually one of the first tale-telling signs you will likely observe. The absence of a filter to trap those dust or debris will result in them being stirred around your home in continuous cycles. This occurs after debris and dust are sucked back through the intake, pumped back through the air vents, and remain in the air till they are inhaled. This is bad news, particularly if you are prone to allergies. It would be safer for you to vacate your home in such situations until the air quality has improved completely.

●      Contaminated Ductwork

The absence of the filter would lead to the accumulation of pollutants and air toxins throughout the ductwork. They are easily trapped by the ribbed aluminum tubes. This aggregation of debris can easily harbor moisture within the ductwork leading to the growth of nasty molds. The mold spores would thus easily find their way into your home’s air, where they remain suspended till a host inhales them. This is very dangerous because of the possibility of fungal infections, which could easily kill you.

What Happens If You Use A Dirty Filter?

As I have explained before, though your furnace would still work without a filter, it is not a good practice to do so. How about running it with a dirty one? You might ask. Similarly, this does not prevent your furnace from running; however, it certainly brings about adverse effects with time.

A dirty filter is likely to be clogged, implying that proper air circulation is obstructed. This also means that your furnace system would have to work even more challenging for air to circulate. It stresses the same system and results in the accumulation of more contaminants in the unit’s mechanism.

When the heating system works harder, expect your utility bill to skyrocket. Eventually, the unit might ultimately give in and get damaged. Thus it is in your best interest to run your furnace with a clean filter for its smooth running and keep those bills in their rightful place.

Is an air filter the same as a furnace filter? AIR FILTER VS FURNACE FILTER

It all depends on your home setting and model of furnace. In other words, an air filter and furnace filter could be the same thing. For example, in some homes where there are centralized cooling and heating, the system shares the same air handler filter. Older furnace models have an inbuilt filter commonly referred to as a furnace filter separate from the house’s cooling system. Here is how the two filters can be made distinguished.

●      Air Filter

It is used when the central air system is in use and sucks the air from home into the system. It would then be cleaned before being blown back into the atmosphere at a chilled cooler temperature. The air filter captures many contaminants such as dust particles, pollen grains, bacteria, and dust mites.

●      Furnace Filter

Similarly, a furnace filter serves the same purpose as an air filter. The only difference has to do with heating of the sucked air instead of cooling. After this fit, it is blown back to each room via ductwork to ward off the chill of colder months. The heating can be done using conventional heating systems such as wood, propane, electricity, or even oil.

How do you put an air filter in a furnace?

These days with companies constantly re-designing gadgets to grab the biggest market share, one can never be too careful to replace some parts correctly. It is the same deal when you have to replace a furnace filter. Placing it incorrectly is detrimental to the furnace’s efficiency and overall function. Before going through the simple steps, you need to install the filter, let us just go through some scenarios that might call for a furnace filter replacement.

When Does Your Filter Require Replacement?

When your furnace filter becomes clogged or worn out, that is when you have to replace it. So how do you know if it is suffering from such defects? To explain this, you need to gain some appreciation of how a furnace filter works. To start with, the air is drawn into the furnace via the blower fan and gets to pass through the filter.

This device traps dirt, dust, debris, and many allergens, as mentioned before. The presence of such materials would affect the running of the furnace because of the obstruction of air. The quality of the air in your home is also significantly affected. Therefore if your filter is clogged or worn out, then you are likely to experience the following:

  • Poor airflow.
  • High bills.
  • An overheated furnace.
  • An overworked and worn-down fan.
  • Low temperatures with puzzling chilly indoors.

Steps To Follow When Replacing A Malfunctioned filter.

1. Remove the old/malfunctioning air filter from your furnace. The filter is adjacent to the furnace in most furnaces and should be placed where the ductwork meets the furnace.

2. Now on your new filter, try looking for an arrow that indicates the proper airflow direction. You might need a magnifying glass and some light for this process since some prints are quite small and easy to miss. This arrow must always face the furnace and away from the return duct that carries the air in need of heating or cooling.

To reduce the confusion in identifying the arrow, you have to draw the airflow direction arrow with a permanent marker. This has to be on the furnace’s housing or ductwork. Here is how the print should appear: air filter size 16x25x4 Airflow

3. On completion of the previous step, everything should be straightforward, requiring you to slide the new air filter in. Do this with the arrow pointing toward the furnace, away from the return duct that pulls cooling air, and voila, you are done!

Carrying Out Maintenance Work On Your Furnace

The drawback of the ductwork or filters is that they do not clean or remove the captured debris. What you would need to do is some DIY maintenance works. Trust me, guys, a little bit of maintenance work does the trick. This calls for you to bring out your toolbox and to get a little bit dirty. I just hope those hands are not as rusty.

For removing the dirt stuck within your duct, the use of a flexible horse vacuum cleaner will make your work easier. It will reach those inaccessible areas that normally would make you want to quit the whole cleaning. If you got yourself a washable filter, you need to know the right way to clean it. After taking out the filter, take it to the shower or outdoors to have a nice water spray.

Ensure you apply a fine spray in the opposite direction to which the air would flow through while installed. Desist from using high pressures water because it only further damages your filter. Finally, make sure your filter is thoroughly dry before installing it back.

Is it better to use cheap furnace filters?

Well yes! In certain situations, that is. Picture this, you stay in an area where significant air duct leakages occur, perhaps due to some earth tremor caused damages. On average, a whopping 30 % is lost to unconditioned areas. The overall effect is your furnace working overtime, including the creation of negative pressure within your home.

Basically, in such a situation, getting an expensive filter for your system will not, in any way, fix these problems, so it is not worth your money. Instead, be smart and get $1 filters, which you can change monthly. The long and the short of it is that if you are not considering fixing some of your filter’s outstanding problems, let the idea of getting the slick, expensive filters to skip you.

Are expensive furnace filters worth the money?

Again this question is not best answered rigidly but by looking at the situation in which it arises. Expensive air filters come with the convenience of not replacing them as often ( up to 3 months without replacing ). This is attributed to the incorporation of more pleats within the filters for more surface area. The wrinkles account for roughly three times the price of none-pleated filters. Additionally, having been made from paper, cotton, and polyester, they tend to purify the air with great precision producing high-quality air.

On the other hand, their cheaper counterparts are made of spun fiberglass, which is not as effective. Thus in this sense, expensive filters are worth the money. However, if those expensive filters fall in the washable air filter category, they are not worth the money. This is because of maintenance requirements and the possibility of the development of molds in your air unit.

Which Ones Are The Best Filters For Your System?

When the time comes to replace your old furnace filter, indecisiveness is a common problem. Not to worry, though. I will lessen this so that you will not have to scratch your head every time. Without wasting much of your precious time, here is what the doctor ordered:

1. Airx Health 1″ MERV 13 Furnace Filters

These guys offer the highest MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of 13 for residential use. Here are some of the characteristics of the filter:

  • It gives you the ability to turn the heating system into a home air purifier by reducing contaminants’ levels.
  • It improves air quality with ease.
  • Protects the heating system from clogging, thus allowing for high operating efficiency and reduced energy costs.
  • The presence of pleats provides very high air filtration efficiency.

2. Honeywall FC100A1037 Ultra Efficiency 4″ Furnace Filters

This is a brand quite popular and belongs to the giants Honeywall International.

  • The filters come with a MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value )of 10.
  • It is used with Honeywall 20×25, 25×20, 25×22 F100, and F200 Media Air cleaners.
  • Fractional efficiency: E1 of 25%, E2 of 62%, and E3 of 85%
  • A static pressure drop of 0.23 at 500 FPM.

3. Norsic Pure 4″ Furnace Filters

This brand falls under Nordic Pure. Here is what comes with this product:

  • A MERV of 12 which reduces microscopic specs of pollen and dust.
  • Comes in dimension of 19 7/8″, 24 7/8″ x 4 3/8″.
  • They are designed as brand replacements for Honeywall units.

Final Word

So, instead of hearing the wind blow against your window, let the following words be heard and sink right through. You can run your furnace without a filter but never try it! This is for your good and that of your very furnace. Lastly, instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop, make it a practice to carry out maintenance work on your furnace routinely. Chiefly have your filters replaced within the right time frame. Remember, they are not going to change themselves!

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