How Do You Know When to Change Your Home Air Filter? Here Are the Top 5 Signs
How frequently you need to change your air filter ultimately depends on many factors including the air pollution in your area and the quality of the filter you installed currently.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to HVAC, but the most important for ensuring high indoor air quality is the air filter in your HVAC system. How frequently you need to change your air filter ultimately depends on many factors including the air pollution in your area (including the indoor source of pollution) and the quality of the filter you installed currently. However, there are several tell-tale signs that your HVAC filter is in need of a replacement.
Why Does My HVAC System Need An Air Filter?
Your HVAC system, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, is responsible for maintaining a comfortable temperature and humidity within the space it occupies, as well as ensuring proper ventilation. A filter collects dust and debris from the air, and are two main reasons why a high-quality air filter is essential in your HVAC system.
Firstly, equipping your HVAC system with an air filter protects the health of everyone in the building because without a filter, the HVAC system would circulate dust and debris around with the air it's moving. Inhaling excessive dust can have negative health consequences, even to people who don't suffer from allergies and asthma.
Secondly, a high-efficiency air filter will protect the HVAC equipment from the dust that it's filtering. Dust and other contaminants are made up of small particles that can damage components of the HVAC system, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of maintenance and replacement fees.
What Leads to A Short Filter Lifespan?
Different filters of different qualities And efficiencies will vary in life span. Higher dust load in your home will also put more of a strain on your filters, therefore leading to a shorter lifespan but there are some factors that can decrease the lifespan of a high-quality filter. These include:
Construction occurring nearby
Using a fireplace
Running the fan constantly
Ineffective or broken door and window seals
More people moving around in the space, which increases the amount of dust and dirt that is kicked up into the air.
Top Signs You Need to Change Your Home Air Filters
Increase Allergy and Asthma Systems
The filter is reaching the end of its life span, it will become too full of dust and other airborne contaminants to effectively filter anything more out of the air. This means an increased presence of dust and other allergens (such as pollen and pet dander) in your home or building, leading to aggravated allergies, asthma, and other related conditions in building inhabitants. Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a sore throat, a runny nose, or increased asthma attacks.
If you have noticed an increase in symptoms of such conditions for no other obvious reason (such as leaving your windows open during pollen season or adopting a new pet), this may be an indication that your filters need to be changed.
Your Electricity Bills are Higher than Usual
Poor quality air filters or air filters that are no longer working effectively put a lot of strain on your HVAC system as it has to generate enough power to force air through the vents. You may therefore experience a noticeable increase in your electricity bills when the time comes around to replace the filters in your home HVAC system.
The Air Conditioning Isn’t Making the Air Cold
This may be a sign that your HVAC system needs maintenance and isn't functioning properly, but if you noticed that your air conditioning isn't making the air cold as effectively as it usually does, it may be an indication that your filter needs to be changed. When there is too much debris in the HVAC air filter, it effectively creates a blockage in the air circulation, meaning that cold air can’t be circulated around the building as effectively.
Excessive Dust Around Vents
One very obvious telltale sign that it's time to replace your air filter is if you notice excessive dust collecting around vents in your home and around the filter itself. This indicates that the filters in your HVAC system are no longer able to hold on to dust that passes through them as they are already saturated with debris.
Performing a White Sheet Test
If you've noticed any of the signs above, you should perform a white sheet test. This very simple test requires no special equipment and can show you whether or not your HVAC air filter is still performing effectively. All you need is a white sheet and about an hour.
Hang a white sheet a few inches in front of one of your vents. You can test multiple vents once by hanging sheets in front of different vents. While your HVAC system or air conditioning is running, leave this set up for one hour. When you come back, if you can see grey or black dust collection on the white sheet, this is a very good indicator that you need to change your HVAC air filter, as per air filter expert from leading air filtration company Camfil Air Filters.