The air in your home is kept clean and comfortable through an air filter in your HVAC system. As the air flows through the ducts and passes through the system, dust and allergens are trapped in a filter so that they don’t go back into the air that you and your family breathe. Because of this, the dirty particles in the air build up in the filter, requiring you to change or clean your filter every once in a while.
How do you know that you’ve got a dirty air filter, though? And how do you know it’s time to change or clean it immediately? Here are the most common signs and symptoms of a dirty air filter.
Symptoms of a Dirty Air Filter
Reduced Air Flow
Go to your vents and feel the air passing through. If you notice that the air isn’t blowing as much as it used to, the most likely culprit is the air filter.
The dirt and dust in the air filter cakes up inside it, becoming dense and compacted. When air tries to flow through this caked up gunk, it cannot do so as effectively. A clean air filter will allow air to flow quite freely.
Reduced airflow also can cause other problems, such as lower system efficiency, high energy bills, and a general feeling of discomfort in the home. So if you’re noticing this, change your filter!
Less Effective Cooling
When the filter gets dirty, your AC cannot work as effectively. But why? This is because a dirty air filter allows some of the nasty particles in the air to cling to the cooling coils. Then, frost will build up on the coils and fans. You’ll be able to notice this on the outside AC unit. The evaporating and melting frost can cause other issues, too, but the main one is that energy that is supposed to be used to cool your home is causing the water vapor around the AC unit to freeze.
Low Indoor Air Quality
A dirty air filter will also result in dirty ducts and vents. When these get dirty, you can tell that more allergens, dust, and nasty particles are floating around in the air that you and your family breathe. This causes a drop in indoor air quality and makes living in your home much less comfortable.
If you have pets or a lot of people living in the home, the filter needs to be changed often to avoid indoor air quality issues.
High Energy Bills
Dirt and debris in the air filter will cause your system to work harder in order to maintain the right temperature, humidity, and airflow. As a result, your system will start to use more energy (whether it’s cooling or heating). This causes your energy costs to skyrocket, leaving you wondering what’s going on (and on the hook for the bill!). Replacing your air filter should help rectify these issues and return your energy bills to normal.
When Should I Change My Air Filter?
Simply put, change your air filter when your HVAC system’s manual tells you to. If you don’t have your owners manual, you can likely find it online or ask an HVAC contractor to check for you.
Most filters require changing every three months, however, some may require it done more often. Some filters don’t need to be changed but cleaned. Either way, getting rid of your dirty air filter and replacing it with a clean one will address most of these issues.
If you already changed your air filter and are still seeing problems, then we recommend speaking to an HVAC professional to help diagnose the problem. Call us at 847-359-5100 for air filter services in Palatine, IL, and the entire Chicagoland!