One of the most important, often ignored, items in our homes is the furnace and the filter associated with it-yes I promise, there is a FILTER THAT MUST BE REPLACED MONTHLY, in most cases. I'm really hoping this hasn't raised any eyebrows-not yet anyway. If you live with a gas forced air furnace, often called " central air" or know someone who does, pay special attention as this will make your home and the people in it much safer. Forced air heating systems operate with supply and return ductwork–this ensures even air distribution through out the home. Placing a paper towel near your vents is an easy way to determine the difference. The filter is always installed on the return side of the ductwork.
The Lungs of Your Home
The duct system has often times been called "the lungs of your home" and for good reason. It comes down to this. Openings in the filter compartment have the potential to raise moisture and radon levels in the home.(RADON GAS IS ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES FOR LUNG CANCER AMONGST NON SMOKERS). Typically we have sump pumps, drains, and flu pipes in our basements, crawl spaces, and utility rooms. The opening in the duct system, where the filter is located, is pulling with greater force than any other return because its closest to the blower or fan. if you take that same paper towel you used to find the returns in the upper level and place it near the opening where the filter is, you will see the difference. That opening is pulling any and all potential threats (exhaust gas, radon, moisture, dirt, odors) into the duct system and circulating it through out your home, all day-everyday.
Clean Filter, Efficient Furnace
Another thing to ALWAYS remember is that a clogged filter will make the furnace work much harder, less efficient, and lead to premature failure and a shorter life span. An HVAC technician can fabricate a cover for the filter with ease and shouldn't cost more than that of a service call. Thank you for taking time to read this and allowing us raise awareness, and perhaps some eyebrows.