Updated August 2023

Your HVAC system works tirelessly to regulate air in your home, providing you with warm comfort and cool climates appropriate for each season. Making sure that your system is in good working order will ensure that it continues to do the job it was meant to do.

Your Role in Furnace Maintenance

Scheduling regular maintenance and repair on your HVAC system is vital to ensuring its longevity. One simple thing that you can do to increase the lifespan of your furnace is to change the air filter regularly.

Your filter is responsible for cleaning and circulating indoor air throughout your home. Its primary job is to trap dirt, dust, debris, and other fine particulates that would otherwise negatively impact the air quality in your home. When this filter becomes dirty or clogged, it can affect much more than just your HVAC system.

Black Furnace Filters: What Does It Mean?

You will notice visible changes to your air filter if it is no longer effectively filtering air through your system. A black furnace filter is a sign that there may be more trouble brewing. Here are some of the most common causes for you seeing black on your furnace filter.

Presence of Carbon Monoxide

After noticing a black furnace filter, one of the first things you should do is check your home’s carbon monoxide levels. Furnaces produce a byproduct of carbon monoxide as they function, which can leak into your house if your system has leaks or cracks. In addition, carbon monoxide leaves a soot-like residue that can quickly soil your air filter.

As carbon monoxide is hazardous in high concentrations, seek immediate relocation from your home while you determine if levels are safe enough to return. In addition, change the air filter in your furnace as soon as possible and have your system evaluated for signs of leaking and damage that can lead to carbon monoxide saturation.

Soot and Dirt

Your furnace filter will get dirty over time; it was designed to do so. However, the longer you go without changing your filter, the less effective it will be at efficiently cleaning your indoor air. If your filter is visibly caked with soot and dirt, replace it to see almost immediate results in indoor air quality and comfort.

Mold and Mildew

A furnace filter can also clog due to mold and bacterial growth. Condenser coils present in your HVAC system could be throwing off excess moisture, which can lead to a buildup of mold and mildew in your system. It is hazardous to continue using a furnace with a filter saturated with these toxins, as their presence can result in long-term health consequences for you and your loved ones. Change your filter as soon as possible, and consider cleaning your ductwork if you detect the presence of mold and mildew in your system.

How Often Filter Changes Are Necessary

The frequency with which you change your filter depends on the design of your furnace and its appropriate filter. Thin filters need replacement once every 90 days, while thicker filters can go for six months before needing to be replaced. Commercial filters can last up to a year with proper system maintenance.

Several other factors affect recommended changes as well, such as:
  • The number of people in your home
  • Presence of pets
  • How often you use your HVAC system
  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Other contributing factors to filter clogs
  • How frequently you clean and maintain your system

A dirty furnace filter causes other problems with your HVAC system as well. In addition to keeping the air clean, another big job of your filter is to keep the internal components of your HVAC system clean and free from debris. Your system will have to work harder and will be subject to frequent repairs and breakdowns. Such a simple regular maintenance task will potentially add years to your furnace life and ensure that you enjoy all the benefits of clean, healthy indoor air, no matter what time you use your system.

Need a Furnace Filter Inspection? Choose Us!

Serving clients across communities in northern Colorado, My Guy Heating and Air, LLC has been providing quality heating and cooling services for over a decade. With a commitment to excellent customer service, timely communication, and a variety of services related to the replacement, repair, and installation of all types of HVAC and indoor air quality systems, we’ll give you the solutions that make heating and cooling your home efficiently a breeze. Contact us today to learn more about how we can work with you to keep your home comfortable, clean, and energy-efficient all year round.

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