It is estimated that air pollution in homes is two to five times higher than it is outside the homes. This is true regardless of if the home is in a highly industrial or rural area.
One of the main players in keeping pollutants out is your home air filter. Unfortunately, if you don’t change the filter as recommended, you and your family’s health may suffer.
The good news is, there are some indications that let you know for sure it’s time to change the air filter. Learn what those indications are, as well as why changing the filter is so important here.
1. The Filter is Dirty
While this may seem somewhat obvious, it’s important to state. Your eyes don’t lie. If your filter appears dirty, it’s time to replace it with a new one.
The filter is going to need changing every one to three months. However, the frequency is dependent on how much you use your system. At the very least, inspect the system at the mentioned intervals.
This represents the easiest ways to avoid issues resulting from a dirty air filter.
2. Reduced Air Quality
If your system is running with a dirty air filter installed, you are (essentially) just refilling your home with unhealthy, dirty air. If the air quality in your home takes a hit, your well-being may, too.
Have you or someone in your house experienced more headaches than usual? Do your kids seem sick or congested all the time? If so, your dirty air filter may be to blame. Inspect the filter to see if there’s a problem. If so, change it as quickly as you can.
3. Increased Power Bills
It doesn’t matter what you do, the air filter is eventually going to get dirty. If you continue to run your system with a dirty filter installed, for a long period of time, the more issues and problems that occur.
The dirtier a filter is, the harder the HVAC system has to work to properly function. This also means your system is working harder and using more power. When you change the filter regularly, you can avoid these high-power bills.
4. Your Home Seems Extra Dusty
If your air conditioner or furnace filter is clogged, it can’t properly filter out all of the allergens and pollutants in the air. This is going to significantly reduce the indoor air quality in your home. While there are some who find it hard to recognize signs of poor indoor air quality, there’s a sigh that can’t be mistaken – dust.
If you have noticed your home is collecting more dust than usual, it likely means it’s time to change the air filter.
5. The AC Doesn’t Cool Properly
Another obvious, but important, indication of issues with an air filter is if there is weak airflow from the vents. You may notice your home isn’t as cool as it once was.
If you do, there are several things that could cause this. One issue to keep in mind is that the issue may be due to a dirty air filter. Try to change the air filter and see if that helps to correct the problem.
6. The Unit has Started Overheating
Another common indication of an excessively dirty or clogged air filter is if the unit has started overheating. Does the back of the unit get too hot? Does the system start expelling hot air for (seemingly) no reason?
If so, then there’s a good chance your air filter is to blame. Change the filter to see if this corrects the problem.
7. A Spike in Allergy Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, if you or someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, it may be necessary to change the air filter even more often. A fresh, new filter can help save you and others in your home additional issues during pollen season.
However, if allergy season has passed and you or someone in the house is still suffering symptoms, then it could be because your filter is dirty or clogged. Go ahead and replace the filter to see if this helps.
8. The Unit Fails the “White Sheet Test”
Have you ever heard of the “white sheet test?” This is a simple and DIY method to figure out how clean your air filter really is. You should try to perform it from time to time.
To conduct the test, you first need a white sheet. Once you have it, hang it five to eight inches away from a vent for about an hour. The grayer that your sheet gets, the dirtier that your air filter is. Take time to change it.
9. There are Pets in Your House
Even though this isn’t necessarily a sign, it is an indication that you may need to change the air filter more often than not.
Most dogs and cats shed. Their hair has a tendency to get everywhere. This includes into your home’s air filters. In the long run, this can impact the performance of your heating and cooling system.
If you have several pets in your home, you will likely need to change your filter much more often. Again, the best way to know for sure is by checking the filter regularly.
Also, depending on the current season, you may have the change the filter more periodically in the summer. After all, animals shed more in the summer. Be sure to keep this in mind when checking your filters.
Tips for Choosing the Best Home Air Filter
Now that you know the signs you need to replace your air filter, you need to figure out what type of filter is right for your needs. Getting to know the basics of home air filters is the best way to determine what kind you need.
Keep reading to learn more.
When you begin assessing air filters, the MERV – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value – ratings are the most important to understand. These are the numbers that indicate how efficient the filter is at trapping and holding onto particles that measure between .3 and 10 microns (larger particles).
The MERV ratings begin at one and go to 20. The higher numbers indicate better efficiency. A basic air filter usually has a rating of four or less. Those measuring between five and eight can capture the majority of indoor air pollutants. Filters with a rating of nine to 16 trap virtually all airborne particles, and those over 16 can also capture bacteria.
The filter with the highest efficiency level isn’t going to be right for all HVAC systems. There are some filters with resistance levels that may compromise the way the system operates. This can prevent air from moving freely and reduce efficiency.
It’s a good idea to consult with the owner’s manual to determine what resistance level is right for your system.
Common Types of Air Filters
Today, air filters are available in several, common types. Understanding the different types can help you choose the right one.
These protect the HVAC unit. However, they are unable to improve overall indoor air quality, so keep this in mind.
A reusable filter may seem appealing, but they usually have extremely low MERV ratings. They also require much more maintenance than other types of air filters.
A common option for the majority of residential heating and cooling systems. Try to purchase pleated filters with MERV ratings between nine and 16 for the best results.
These are extremely efficient air filters. However, they are usually reserved for being used in industrial environments and hospitals.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Put Off Installing a New Air Filter
The filter in your heating and cooling system is a key component to the comfort of your home. Changing the filter regularly will provide a wide array of benefits, which include the following:
- Improved system performance
- Improved indoor air quality
- Better energy efficiency
- Improved comfort
As you can see, the benefits are well worth it. Make sure you don’t ignore this important part of home maintenance.
Is it Time to Change Your Home Air Filter?
When it comes to your home’s air filter, you can afford to ignore its condition. At DiscountFilters.com we can help you find the quality filters that you want and need.
Being informed is the best way to ensure your home’s filters are working properly and that no issues will occur.