If you go any significant amount of time without cleaning your home, you’re sure to notice how much dust and dirt can accumulate all over the place. Although you might not notice it, dirt particles also float around your air and get caught in your furnace’s airflow. If that dirt ends up building up on your furnace, it can cause some significant problems. Today we’re going to talk about the effects of a dusty furnace and what you can do to keep your system clean!

How does dirt build up on your furnace?

As we mentioned above, dust particles get caught up in your home’s airflow and are sent through your furnace via the return ducts. Your air filter is designed to trap those dust particles so that they do not build up in your furnace. If your filter is clogged, dust particles will bypass your filter and build upon your system’s components.
In addition, if you skip out on annual maintenance for your furnace, dirt that would have otherwise been removed will accumulate in layers and significantly impair your system’s performance.

What are the effects of a dusty furnace?

  • Decreased efficiency. Dirt can build up on your system’s fan blades, which will force them to work harder and consume more energy while they are spinning. In addition, if dirt builds up on your burners, your heat exchanger won’t heat up as hot as it should and your furnace will have to work longer to heat your home.
  • Comfort problems. If dirt builds up on the outer walls of your heat exchanger, it will form a layer in between the heat exchanger and the air that’s blown over it. This means that the air that’s delivered to your home won’t be as warm as it could or should be.
  • Bad smells. As dirt builds up inside your furnace, it will burn up and produce a strong and pungent burning smell while your system is operating.
  • Ignition problems. If you have a furnace with a conventional or intermittent pilot light, the fuel nozzle can clog up and prevent it from lighting. If you have a furnace with a hot surface ignition, dirt can form a layer on the ignition that prevents it from heating to a hot enough temperature to light your burners.
  • Safety issues. When your system’s burners get dirty, they will not burn fuel efficiently. This can allow gas to build up inside of your heat exchanger, which can cause a mini-explosion when it does eventually ignite. In addition, dirt buildup can impair the performance of your system’s various safety components, which can cause them to malfunction and make your furnace unsafe.
  • Breakdowns. Dirt buildup is one of the leading causes of furnace breakdowns. It can throw your fan’s motor off balance, cause your blower to overheat, force your heat exchanger to crack prematurely, and more.

How to avoid a dusty furnace

There are two simple things you can do to avoid dirt buildup on your furnace. First, make sure that you check and/or change your air filter once a month. Your filter is your furnace’s primary defense against dirt buildup, and it has to be clean to perform its job properly. Second, schedule a furnace tune-up every year. During your tune-up, we’ll clean your system and get rid of any dirt that might have accumulated on your system over the year.

If you have any questions about the effects of a dusty furnace, or if you’d like a heating system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Charles, MO, furnace installation and repair contractor. We service the entire St. Louis area, including towns like Clayton, Cottleville, and Creve Coeur, MO.

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