Education Hub

Clogged Furnace Filters: Symptoms and Solutions

Often, when our expert A1 team is dispatched to a residential property dealing with heating or cooling system malfunctions, a common issue we encounter is a dirty furnace filter.

The furnace filter represents an integral element of your home’s climate control system. It might surprise you that this filter can affect your cooling system as much, if not more than, your heating system.

A simple way to check if your filter is dirty involves removing it and holding it up to a light source. If no light shines through, it’s likely time for a replacement.

An obstructed or dirty furnace filter can significantly impact the effectiveness of your air conditioner by hindering airflow.

  • A common problem, due to inadequate airflow, is the buildup of ice on the indoor evaporator coil or the outdoor condenser. This ice accumulation can inhibit your air conditioner from effectively cooling your home.
  • The blockage created by a dirty filter can force your air conditioner to exert more effort and operate for longer durations than required, potentially reducing its energy efficiency.
  • Strange sounds emerging from your air conditioner or furnace may also indicate a clogged filter.
  • Lastly, a dirty filter could lead to costly breakdowns and unnecessary repairs.

If you detect any of these issues, inspect your filter. If it looks excessively dirty or clogged, remove it immediately, and power off your air conditioner to allow defrosting. This process may take between 2 to 5 hours. Once your unit has totally defrosted, restart your air conditioner. If your home does not start cooling within an hour or two, you may need to seek help from a licensed service technician, as there could be an additional problem at hand.

Maintaining proper airflow is equally crucial for your heating system – a dirty or plugged filter in winter can restrict airflow to the furnace. If the furnace lacks sufficient air, the safety switches will shut the furnace down.

The potential impacts of a dirty filter on your heating system include:

  • The furnace starts and stops rapidly, a phenomenon known as short cycling.
  • Insufficient air emerging from the floor vents.
  • The furnace shuts off and fails to restart.

If you experience any of these issues, inspect your furnace filter. If it’s dirty or plugged, remove it. The furnace should restart. If not, consider resetting the furnace breaker or toggling the furnace safety switch off and on.

Operating for a day or two without a filter is acceptable – it’s better to have no filter than a fully clogged one. However, it’s crucial to replace it with a new filter as soon as possible.

A1 offers an extensive range of both conventional and premium HEPA/air cleaner filters. We provide convenient options for our customers, including mail delivery or local pick-up at our office located at 1420 Cornwall Road, Unit 3, in southeast Oakville, L6J 7W5. Experience the convenience and quality of our filter selection today.

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