Furnace Filters for Seattle Weather: Fixing Problems

The weather is getting cooler and it’s about time for homeowners in Bellevue and Seattle to check their heating systems. One of the first things to check in a furnace is the filter. It is one of the first components of the furnace to get dirty. Replacing furnace filters for Seattle and Bellevue weather is easy.

Several signs can indicate a furnace filter needs replacement. Doing so will save you money on repair costs. Knowing what to look for when replacing furnace filters for Seattle and Bellevue weather ensures that your home will be cleaner and more comfortable. Furnace filters are cheap and regularly changing them means that you can prevent costlier repair and damage to your HVAC system.

Is it time to replace the furnace filter for Seattle and Bellevue weather or is it time for the furnace to be replaced? Here are the top signs.

When to replace furnace filters

Furnace Filters

Signs that you need to replace furnace filters for Seattle and Bellevue weather:

  • The furnace is cycling longer than usual when heating your residence. A dirty furnace filter hinders the airflow through the furnace. The heat is carried by the air, meaning when there is less heat there is less air.
  • The installed filter has been in use longer than manufacturer’s recommendation. Depending on the type of filter used by your furnace, replacement should be done each month or every four to six months, depending on the environment in your area. One of the things you’ll notice is the excessive amount of dirt inside your home.
  • The furnace emits a high-pitched noise. It means that the blower motor is working harder to suck air or because there is limited airflow.
  • There is a burning smell coming from the furnace. It could be due to overheating of the furnace filter or overheating of the blower motor. This could lead to a dangerous situation, particularly if the safety switches fail to work. Fischer Heating recommends calling a qualified technician immediately to inspect your furnace in cases like this.

Check the filter when the furnace suddenly stops working. If the furnace filter is clogged, it should be replaced. This is easy to identify. If the once bright colored or white filter becomes increasing gray, this means that there is a buildup of dust and dirt on the filter. Try to start the furnace once the filter has been changed. When the filter is clogged, your fuel consumption will rise. At the same time it will also shorten the life expectancy of your furnace.

Function of a filter

We have been talking about furnace filters, but what does a filter actually do? The filter of a furnace cleanses the air inside your home of airborne particles such as smoke, pollen and dust. Air from outdoor is drawn through your home’s ductwork. The air passes through the air filter before it reaches the furnace. Thus, the filter traps whatever unwanted particles were included in the drawn air. The air filter helps the furnace improve its efficiency. It increases the useful life of the system and helps you to breathe healthier and cleaner air.

What clogs the air filter?

Although one of the common causes of a clogged filter is the lack of maintenance, other issues can also cause the furnace filter to be blocked. Here are some of the causes:

  • Using a poor quality or inexpensive filter
  • Environmental temperature is colder than normal. The furnace runs more when the weather turns cooler as you use the furnace longer.
  • The fan of the furnace is always in the ”on” position instead of being set to automatic. If it is left running constantly, the filter tends to clog faster.
  • Poor quality of the air inside the home. Pets and too many occupants can cause the amount of allergens and dust in the home to increase.
  • Dirty or dusty return air vents. If the return air vents are near areas where there is buildup of dirt and grime, the contaminants can be sucked up and pass through the furnace air filter.

You’ll know that the air filter of your furnace is clogged by looking for visible signs, such as:

  • Layer of debris, dirt and dust forms on the vent covers
  • Dust clogs the return air registers
  • The furnace box shows dust buildup
  • The air flow is reduced
  • The heating level is minimized
  • The normal furnace cycling is shortened

What happens when the furnace has a clogged air filter?

The moving parts of a furnace work harder when the filter is clogged to compensate for the blocked flow of air. As a result, your utility bill will go up. It can also cause the overheating of the heat exchanger, which will prompt it to shut off faster. This will result in your home not warming up. The frequent occurrence of this shortened and aborted process can lead to the failure of the electronic “limit switch” safeguard. Eventually, the furnace will fail to operate and the part will have to be replaced.

You might think that the furnace air filter is almost an accessory to the system. However, the filter plays several roles in ensuring the efficient running of the furnace. Its inefficiency to draw enough air the system needs affects several operations, which is why it needs regular cleaning and/or replacement.

If the filter is clogged, your energy consumption increases. This is because the flower fan will work harder to draw air that the heating system needs. In the summer when you need to cool your house, a clogged HVAC air filter will cause the evaporator coils to freeze.

A dirty furnace air filter leads will cause the inadequate distribution of heat. Some parts of your house will have cold spots. To heat your home to the required level, the furnace will run longer and raise your energy consumption.

Aside from distributing unhealthy air, as the dirt from the filter will eventually be circulated inside your home, your furnace can fail. This means that instead of just spending for the cost of a new furnace air filter, you might be spending for the replacement of costlier parts. Clogged air filters are often the cause of furnace failure and thousands of dollars in repair costs.

When to replace the entire furnace system

Furnace Filters

If replacing the furnace filter for Seattle and Bellevue weather does not solve the problem you are encountering, it might be time to replace your furnace with a more efficient model. Here are some indicators to look out for.

The furnace is already old. The average life expectancy of a furnace is between 18 and 20 years. If you had it maintained regularly by a professional, you can extend its life for a few more years.

Increased frequency and cost of repair. The age of the furnace is not the only indicator that it needs replacement. If the cost of keeping your furnace running is getting costlier and the breakdowns are more frequent, the heating system is nearing the end of its useful life and must be replaced as soon as you can. If you are wondering how much the cost of furnace repair should be before you consider replacing it, the best indicator is when you are spending about half the price of a new furnace. On the other hand, you should also think of replacing the old furnace even if the repair costs are minimal because of the possibility of the unit breaking down again. You can ask Fischer Heating for a detailed appraisal of repair costs versus new furnace, according to the condition of your heating system.

Your heating bills are progressively rising. If your heating bills during the cold season dramatically increase, it is time to think of replacing your furnace. It’s an indication that its efficiency has gone down.

Get professional help from Fischer Heating for maintenance, replacement, repair and other heating problems. Our trained, certified and licensed HVAC technicians can expertly advise you on whether you only need minor repairs or if you actually need to replace your heating system. Give us a call now at 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050.