Forgetting to replace air filter of furnace results in air quality concerns

Last winter, I got up every morning with a headache, congestion and sore throat. My eyes were red and itchy. I’d start sneezing and sometimes end up coughing. I assumed there was a problem with air quality. I only suffered those problems while I was in the house. I told my husband about the health issues I was having and he admitted that he’d been suffering from allergy symptoms. He’d figured I wasn’t vacuuming or dusting as regularly. Mike checked the calendar and had to look back through the pages to find when either us had last replaced the air filter. Neither of us had remembered to take care of the air filter in the furnace. When we inspected the filter, we were shocked by how dirty it was. The filter totally clogged with dirt, lint and hair. We searched the shelves of the utility closet but found no new air filters. Mike tried washing the filter but it completely dissolved in the water. We knew it was a disposable filter and washable model but were hoping to get by. Mike and I drove to all of the local hardware stores but no one offered filters of the right size. We then called an HVAC supplier for help.Mike explained our situation. Along with a new air filter, we figured professional maintenance for the Heating system was a good idea. We were lucky that the HVAC company was able to send a licensed technician to our home that very day. The contractor removed the cabinet of the furnace and found a great deal of dust within the inner workings. He explained that an excess of contaminants result in poor air quality, restricts airflow and increases wear and tear on the system. Since the heated air isn’t reaching the intended destination, comfort diminishes. The furnace is required to run longer to meet demands. This increases the chance of malfunction and running costs and can cause premature system failure. Mike and I were paying more unnecessarily high utility bills. We now have a big supply of air filters. Mike and I have also signed up for a maintenance plan with the HVAC company. We hope to take much better care of the furnace.
Washable filter