In every home, there's at least one maintenance task you've let go for a little too long. Maybe it's cleaning the leaves and twigs out of your gutters. Or wiping down the inside of your fridge. Or you haven't checked your smoke alarms in a long while. But for most people, one of the most often forgotten home maintenance tasks is to change your HVAC air filter.
The HVAC filter is square or rectangle made of layers and layers of special dust-catching material. It sits behind the intake vent where your home's heater/AC pulls in air that it will heat or cool then blow through the vents.
And if you don't know when you're supposed to change that filter, then chances are that it has already been too long. But if you want a solid confirmation that it's time to change the filter, we have five clear signs that will clearly show you whether your current air filter is too full for service.
1) Your Intake Vent is Fuzzy
The intake vent where your HVAC pulls in air will always be a little bit dusty. This is because the dust-filled air goes through the intake vent, then the dust is stopped and caught by the filter behind the vent. However, the dust on your intake vent shouldn't be more than a thin layer like any other surface in your home.
However, the intake in front of a clogged air filter will slowly start to look different. The air filter may still be blocking dust, but it can't absorb any more, so where does the dust go? It clings to the filter and to the intake vent itself. If your intake vent is covered in little balls and tendrils of dust and lint, then your air filter is cooked and it's time for a new one.
2) Allergies Are Worst At Home
Allergies happen to everyone at one time or another. You may have year-round allergies or seasonal allergies, but you've probably noticed that different places also influence how much you sneeze. If your allergies are worst at home, or if you experience out of season allergies at home, then this is a clear sign of low home air quality.
Chances are that your air filter is full and no longer able to filter allergens out of the air the way it should. This will leave too much dust and old, sometimes out-of-season allergens floating in the air which is why you're sneezing.
3) Surfaces Near Vents are Dusty
Just as the air intake can show you there's too much dust, so can the air coming out of your vents. Air blowing from your vents should be clean and filtered. However, a full air filter can result in dusty air blowing through the vents instead. Check the surfaces near your air vents and compare them to surfaces in the middle of the room.
If there is more dust on surfaces near a vent, this means your vent is blowing dust. Which means your air filter isn't stopping the dust from coming through.
4) Your HVAC is Working Too Hard
An old air filter isn't just bad for your sinuses and lungs, it's also bad for your whole HVAC system. Intaking air through a clogged filter is like trying to breathe through a stuffy nose. Your HVAC system has to work a lot harder to get the amount of air it needs. If your heater/AC is running for longer cycles or making more noise than usual, your air filter may be the cause.
You may also see this reflected in your power bill. If you are suddenly using more power than usual, your HVAC may be struggling with a clogged air filter and draining power as it tries to compensate.
5) You Can't Remember the Last Time the Filter Was Changed
Finally, remember that timing is everything. Most HVAC air filters are made to be replaced every 3 to 9 months depending on the size and brand. If you can't remember the last time you changed the air filter, then you can know for sure it's been too long. And if you do remember and it's been longer than a year, then your filter is also surely passed it's recommended service time.
If you've just confirmed that it's time to change your air filter, you might be surprised just how much you'll enjoy having a new high-quality air filter in place. Here at Dust Goblin, we care about improving your home air quality. When shopping around for a new air filter, give the Dust Goblin a try and watch the dust disappear from your home. Contact us today for more information!