Can I Run My Furnace Without A Filter?

furnace air filterThe primary function of the air filter in your furnace is to stop pollutants such as pollen, allergens, pet dander, dust and dirt from circulating through your home. When these pollutants levels are kept at bay, your risk for specific health problems decreases. Some of these health issues include conditions such as allergies, bronchitis, sinus congestion, asthma attacks, and other respiratory problems.

Simultaneously, such filters also prevent debris and dirt from damaging your heating system. They help your unit run at a more efficient pace, thus reducing your home’s overall heating costs.

Your air filter performs various beneficial tasks although you may not notice these on a day-to-day basis. Below is some additional information on the subject:

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Can Furnaces Work Without Filters?

Your heating unit has an air filter situated between the furnace and the blower fan. Cold air is pulled in by the blower fan from the outside and is then sent to the furnace to be heated. Nevertheless, before the air reaching the furnace, it must go through the filter. The filter usually consists of tightly woven fiberglass, paper or cloth fibers.

The primary function of the filter is to make sure the furnace is not bombarded with particulate matter. Over time, the filter experiences a buildup of debris and dirt. For this reason, to stop the filter from becoming completely clogged, you should inspect it and replace it whenever necessary. However, you may also wish to hire a reliable HVAC technician to complete this task if you feel uncomfortable.

Several furnace problems can result from a clogged air filter including the following:

  • Overheating furnace
  • Worn down HVAC system
  • Higher utility bills
  • Poor airflow
  • Malfunctioning furnace

Operating A Furnace Without An Air Filter

dirty HVAC air filterAlthough it is possible to operate your heating system without an air filter in place, there are several reasons you should never do this. For example, if you run the system without an air filter in place for a lengthy amount of time, its inner mechanisms will become clogged with an accumulation of debris and dirt.

As time goes on, these clogs have the potential to cause severe damage to the overall system. If such damage occurs, it may lead to costly repairs or even make it necessary to replace your entire unit. Additionally, if a filter is not in place, your indoor air quality will decrease, as there is no safety net to stop pollutants from circulating throughout the home.

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Additional Risks Of Operating Your Furnace Without A Filter

Another function of the air filter in your furnace is to keep the unit in good working condition, mainly where parts such as the blower motor and evaporator coils are concerned. Therefore, if you shun the use of an air filter, the furnace may develop serious problems, leading to expensive repairs. It will also substantially shorten the lifespan of the unit. Additional issues associated with running your heater without a filter include the following:

  • Bad Air Quality: Your HVAC system will circulate pollutants into your home if a filter is not in place. Doing so obviously leads to reduced air quality within your dwelling. Health experts state that myriad health problems can occur when individuals are exposed to such pollutants. These include asthma and other respiratory conditions. Additionally, your heating unit may malfunction if these pollutants make their way into the working parts of the system.
  • Ductwork Contamination: Pollutants such as pollen and other air toxins will also circulate through your ductwork if an air filter is not installed in the unit. This will lead to a buildup on the ribbed aluminum tubes located on the inside of the ducts, creating a perfect environment for the growth of mold spores. Unfortunately, mold can cause significant health problems for anyone who is regularly exposed to it, including asthma, respiratory problems, and severe allergies.



Even though an HVAC unit can run without an air filter, it is not a good idea to do so.

Without the filter in place, particulate pollutants, dirt, and debris can make their way into the system and cause it to malfunction or fail entirely. Doing so will ultimately lead to costly repairs or require the need for an entirely new HVAC system. Additionally, your home heating costs will rise. Your indoor air quality will also be compromised if a filter is not in place to stop particles from circulating throughout the home.

When you are in need of HVAC repairs or maintenance, you can turn to Wilcox Energy for all essential services. We employ only NATE-certified HVAC techs to assist you whenever you require such services.

We offer reliable and affordable HVAC services in your area, and these services can enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system, as well as increase the comfort of your home.

Your system will perform reliably during extreme weather when it receives proper maintenance. Give Wilcox Energy call today to schedule an appointment.

Call Now: (860) 399-6218

For more information about heating and cooling systems, such as tune-ups, repairs, or installations, contact Wilcox Energy. You can contact us at (860) 399-6218. We offer a full line of affordable and trusted HVAC services.