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What Are the Signs My HVAC Filter Needs to Be Replaced?

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Forced air heating and air conditioning systems including furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners all use HVAC filters. These filters need to be replaced periodically, which keeps the system performing optimally. Learn how to tell if your furnace filter needs changing so you can stay on top of HVAC system maintenance!

Here are some common signs it’s time to replace your filter:

1. The Filter Looks Dirty

When it comes to replacing your air filter, its looks won’t deceive you. The filter uses its surface area to capture contaminants floating in the air, and these particles stick to the filter media. When the surface of the filter looks grey and dirty, it’s definitely time to replace it.

2. Decline in Air Quality

While the HVAC filter is designed to safeguard delicate system components from damage caused by the accumulation of dust and debris, the filter also boosts indoor air quality by removing contaminants from the air that circulates throughout the home, including dust, dirt, pollen, and pet dander. Once the filter is filled with contaminants, it can no longer extract new particles. When your filter reaches this point, one way to tell if it needs changing is to consider your indoor air quality. 

If family members experience more congestion, headaches, fatigue, or allergy symptoms, poor indoor air quality may be to blame. Take a look at the filter to determine if this component is the source of your air quality issues. Replace it right away, and your indoor air quality should start improving immediately.

3. A Dustier Home

For the same reasons a dirty filter causes diminishing indoor air quality, a dirty filter can create a dirtier, dustier home environment. Dust is a sign your furnace filter needs to be replaced. With no capacity to pull contaminants from the home’s air supply, these particles are left free to circulate through the heating and cooling system and back into the living areas. Airborne particles fall out of suspension and settle on surfaces throughout the home, creating noticeable dust. 

When your furnace filter is dirty or clogged, your home may appear dusty despite frequent cleaning efforts. If you keep finding new dust no matter how much you are cleaning, check the filter as it probably needs to be replaced.

4. Higher Energy Bills

When the HVAC filter is dirty, airflow through the heating and cooling system is greatly restricted. A dirty filter can block the system from receiving the airflow it needs to operate efficiently, which forces the system to consume more energy as it attempts to draw air through this obstacle. Operating in this state will cost more money to heat and cool your home. If you notice a sudden spike in your energy bills with no apparent cause, a dirty filter may be the reason. Replacing your filter will reduce HVAC system energy consumption right away.

A dirty filter can also cause the HVAC unit to overheat due to a lack of air movement, which can also waste energy. Your system may start and stop suddenly, which is caused by its safety controls working to prevent damage from overheating. 

5. Poor Airflow Through Vents

A dirty filter also restricts air movement into your home. You may notice weak airflow through supply vents and that your home isn’t as warm or cool as you’d like. One way how to tell if your HVAC filter needs changing is to monitor comfort levels indoors. If your home doesn’t feel as comfortable as it did a few weeks ago, look to the filter as it may need to be replaced.

HVAC Filter Help from A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical

Filter changes are an important part of HVAC system maintenance and to ensure the health of your family, especially those who suffer from allergies. Watch for the many signs that tell you if your furnace filter needs changing, and make sure to replace filters regularly. The technicians at A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical can assist you in finding the right replacement filters for your furnace or air conditioner and help you improve system energy efficiency – contact us today to learn more!

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