When was the last time you replaced the air filter on your furnace? If you can't remember, don't worry - you're not alone. It's not out of the ordinary for homeowners to forget all about replacing their furnace filter in a timely manner.

Although there seems to be no immediate downside to ignoring this seemingly trivial task, not replacing your filter can have some long-term consequences for your furnace. Here are a few reasons why replacing your furnace filter is an absolute must.

Clogged Filters Can Constrict Air Flow

Your air filter's job is to collect as much airborne debris as its design allows. Day in and day out, it does just that, steadily trapping airborne pollutants and particles that would otherwise make their way through the furnace unimpeded. But it's only a matter of time before the air filter becomes packed with all sorts of dust and debris.

The more debris your air filter collects, the less air is able to flow through the filter. Leaving the same dirty air filter in your furnace may eventually lead to a complete air flow blockage. Once that happens, the furnace blower may end up pulling air from places you wouldn't expect, including any cracks and holes you might have in your HVAC ductwork.

Clogged Filters Also Reduce Comfort and Energy Efficiency

A clogged furnace filter can also spell trouble for your home's overall comfort and energy efficiency. With less air able to flow through the filter, your furnace blower has to work harder than before to draw air throughout your home. The harder your blower is forced to work, the more energy it consumes. In the end, this means you'll pay more in utility costs than you would if you had changed your filter on a regular basis.

In the meantime, you'll notice the breeze that normally comes through your home's HVAC supply vents isn't as strong as it normally is. Blockages caused by a clogged furnace filter can also prevent conditioned air from being properly circulated throughout your home, resulting in some rooms being too cold for comfort.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 15 percent on energy costs simply by changing your furnace filter.

It Doesn't Just Benefit Your Furnace

Dirty furnace filters don't just pose a threat to your pocketbook and overall comfort. It can also pose a health risk for those who are particularly sensitive to certain allergens and other airborne pollutants.

A clogged furnace filter can severely impact your home's indoor air quality by allowing pollen, pet dander, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other common airborne pollutants to travel throughout the furnace's duct system, giving these pollutants a chance to spread throughout your home. These airborne pollutants can also trigger and exacerbate symptoms in chronic allergy or asthma sufferers.

Combined with other crucial steps, changing your furnace filter on a regular basis can help improve your home's indoor air quality and prevent airborne pollutants from affecting your health.

How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace Filter?

Most experts recommend that you change your furnace filter at least once every 3 months, although others recommend changing your furnace filter on a monthly basis to achieve the best possible indoor air quality for your home. These recommendations generally depend on the type of filter your furnace uses and how often you use your furnace.

Furnace filter changes are usually a straightforward task that can be done with little to no tools in just a matter of minutes. Nevertheless, you shouldn't hesitate to ask your HVAC technician for assistance if you run into a problem with the replacement.

Visit a site like http://www.belairplumbing.com for more information.