7 Warning Signs Your Air Filter Needs Replaced

If you’ve been sneezing and sniffling around your home, it might not just be because of cold weather or a common cold. In many cases, sinus infections that never seem to go away can be linked to a dirty air filter.

Not sure if your home has an AC filter problem? Check out these signs or symptoms of a filthy or faulty HVAC air filter. If any of these issues seems familiar, you might want to spare a minute to peek at your system’s filter.

1. Poor Air Quality

The primary purpose of an air filter is to improve the air quality within a home. Common allergens and pollutants like dust, pollen, smoke, and natural gasses are pulled away from a home’s rooms via air ducts.

Much of this air is filtered through a central filter, typically accessible to homeowners via a special gate or closet. When the filter becomes clogged with dust and dirt, the interior air quality can begin to suffer.

Poor air quality is one of the most significant and frustrating signs of a dirty air filter. While you could invest in an indoor air quality gauge or tester, it might be simpler and more effective to simply check your home’s HVAC filter.

2. Utility Bills Are Rising

While this symptom can also be a sign of plumbing issues or poor conservation habits, rising utility bills (particularly electricity) could signify that your air conditioning system is having to work extra hard.

This happens when the homeowner sets a temperature that is difficult to maintain (think setting your thermostat to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the middle of a -32 degree winter) or when the air filter is clogged with filth.

Fortunately, an air filter replacement is typically an affordable solution to this issue. With consistent maintenance, homeowners may see utility costs return to an expected level.

3. You Can See Dirt

When is the last time that you physically walked over to your air filter and looked at it? If it has been a while, you might want to stop what you’re doing and go check it out. If the filter is a gray, black, or brown color, you’ll need to replace it pronto.

When you replace your air filter, you can opt to purchase a single filter at a time, or you can buy it in bulk. Purchasing in bulk is often a smart idea, as the size of your HVAC filter mold isn’t going to change any time soon, and filters don’t expire.

Additionally, having plenty of extra air filters on hand could ensure that you keep your home’s air clean and allergen-free. When you’re not having to wait on new filters or rush out to the store for more, you’re more easily able to replace old ones.

4. You Don’t Know When It Was Last Changed

If you don’t know or can’t remember the last time your home’s HVAC filter was changed out, it’s probably long past time for a new one. In the majority of homes, the air filter should be replaced every three months at most.

In homes prone to higher volumes of dirt, dust, or smoke, air filters might need to be changed more frequently. When you replace your air filter, it’s a great idea to look up the date you’ll need to change it and schedule the task in your calendar.

5. You’ve Got Dusty Vents

Most homes feature nifty vent covers that help keep ceilings and floors safe and breezy. These metal or plastic bits of hardware aren’t always the easiest things to keep clean, but keeping them in tip-top shape is crucial to air quality.

If you spy bits of dust, dirt, or lint around your air vent covers, it may be time to do some dusting and to change your HVAC air filter. Dusty vent covers can be a significant sign of an aged air filter.

6. You’ve Neglected Consistent Maintenance

Things happen that can make it tricky to keep up with your home’s regular maintenance. That’s okay. What’s not okay is letting those typical tasks pile up until you’ve got a mountain of work to do.

If you’ve neglected to perform maintenance on your AC and heating system, then you’re not alone. Calling a professional team of technicians could be the smartest way to remedy this issue.

You can replace your dirty air filter without assistance, but you’ll need a little help to vacuum the dust and dirt from the air ducts in your home. If you haven’t been keeping up with air filter changes or annual HVAC maintenance, make that call now.

7. You’ve Never Changed the Air Filter

Let’s be honest. Sometimes, life can be very distracting. Significant life changes like getting married, having a child, or buying your first home can put a damper on the day-to-day chores that are part of maintaining a home’s air quality.

If you’ve never changed the air filter in your home, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, order replacement air filters as soon as possible and contact a local HVAC technician. Addressing the problem now is far better than repairing the damage later.

Do You Need to Replace Your Air Filter?

Even the thickest and most effective air filters need to be replaced after a while. Unless you’ve got a reusable metal air filter in your system, you should be throwing out your current air filter every three months—at least!

Luckily, replacing your air filter is a cinch. It’s made even easier when you buy a pack of new filters, rather than buying them one by one. Should you recognize any of the above signs, don’t hesitate to replace your air filter today.

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