What Happens When I Run My Furnace Without a Filter?

There’s one question we hear over and over again, and we’re here to answer it once and for all. Far too often we have homeowners ask us if they can run their furnace without an air filter. The answer is an easy one, technically you can, but you really shouldn’t. There are more than a few good reasons all furnaces come equipped with air filters, and we’re sharing a few of the best ones today.

If you Run Your Furnace Without a Filter You Risk Poor Air Quality

First and foremost, one of the basic functions of an air filter is to protect and preserve your indoor air quality. Oftentimes, an air filter is the first line of defense against indoor air contaminates. This alone should be reason enough to not run your furnace without an air filter. When you breathe air from your HVAC system, you’re essentially breathing in recycled and cleaned air. An HVAC system pulls air from your home through return vents and runs the air through the furnace or condenser. The treated air is then run through the air filter and released back into your home. With each pass through the system, the air must go through the air filter, which continually removes dirt, dander, and other air contaminates. Without a filter, indoor air contaminates are inhaled by you and your family or left to create a buildup in your furnace or ductwork.

You Could Contaminate the Ductwork if You Run Your Furnace Without an Air Filter

To piggyback off what we wrote above, if left unfiltered, indoor air contaminates can make a home inside your ductwork. All treated air in your home is transported through ductwork in your attic and walls. This ductwork plays a major role in the quality of your indoor air. Any treated air that’s dispersed through your home must first pass-through aluminum ducts. If you were to run your furnace without an air filter, your ductwork could be a new breeding ground for mold. When debris is allowed to accumulate in your ductwork it can attach itself to the aluminum pipes. This combined with the temperature treated air and any resulting condensation means mold has a happy home in your ductwork.

You Even Run the Risk of Ruining Your Furnace

Air filters aren’t just for your protection. They also protect your entire HVAC system. When furnaces were first equipped with air filters, the filter’s primary job was to protect the equipment. Generally, furnaces are put in dusty places. If you were to use your home furnace without an air filter, all that dust and debris could get stuck in your system and cause a rather large buildup. Over time, these buildups can clog and damage your system. To protect and extend the lifetime of your system, we recommend only running your furnace with an air filter.

Air Filter Tips and Tricks

When it comes to the care and keeping of your HVAC system, monitoring the air filter is the best thing you can do. At Moore Home Services, we recommend changing your air filter twice per year, once before furnace season and once before AC season. If you want to add an extra layer of air protection, you could invest in a MERV filter. These filters are made to grab smaller particles. We recommend them for anyone suffering from asthma or allergies.

Have Air Filter Questions? Call the Experts at Moore Home Services  

Curious about clean air? All our technicians at Moore Home Services are provided with unparalleled training to handle any HVAC situation. We are a Diamond Certified company proudly serving our Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and North Bay communities. To schedule an appointment, reach out to our friendly call center representatives or click here to reserve a time online.