How To Tell If Your Furnace Filter Needs Changing?

May 10, 2024
Regardless of the season, our homes are constantly engaged in an unseen battle against dust and dander. Your heating and cooling systems play a crucial role in maintaining clean air, with their air filter serving as a fortress against bacteria, pathogens, and other harmful air particles. As part of routine home maintenance, you should consider the importance of your furnace filter and how often it needs to be changed. Most HVAC technicians recommend using a 1″ filter solution to maximize airflow and the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. It’s a good practice to consider replacing these filters monthly, rather than the typical every three months. How often your filter should be changed, entirely depends on your living situation. Let us help you decide what might be the best approach for your furnace or air conditioning system.

Signs You Might Have A Dirty Air Filter

When your home shifts from heating to cooling, you might notice a significant difference in air flow, noise, or smells. This could indicate that you might have a dirty or clogged air filter. Here are just a few of the key signs that you need to look out for:
  • Visible Dirt and Dust: A primary indicator of a filter needing replacement is its appearance. If your filter shows a significant build-up of dirt and dust, appearing gray and clogged, it’s time for a change. This dirt accumulation isn’t just unsightly; it hampers the filter’s functionality.
  • Reduced Air Quality: Have you noticed more dust around your home or a decline in air quality? These could be signs that your air filter is no longer effectively trapping particles. Indoor air quality is crucial for health and comfort, and a clean filter is key.
  • Extended System Cycling: An overworked heating and cooling system, typically running longer than usual, can be a sign of a clogged filter. In this case, the air handler struggled to circulate air, stressing your system.
  • Manufacturer’s Recommendation: Each type of furnace and air conditioner has specific requirements for filter maintenance. Most manufacturers recommend changing filters every one to six months, depending on the filter type and usage.
  • Unusual Noises or Reduced Airflow: Noises such as banging or rattling, or a noticeable reduction in airflow, can indicate a blockage in your return ducts.

Pet Dander & Your Air Filters

Having pets in a home significantly influences how your HVAC system functions. Pet dander consists of tiny flakes of skin, that are shed by animals with fur or feathers. When pet dander circulates in the air, it can get trapped in the HVAC filters, which act as a first line of defense in maintaining indoor air quality. Over time, the build-up of dander can lead to the filter clogs, if they’re not changed frequently. Not only can this lessen the efficiency of air filtration, but also places additional strain on the HVAC system. For homes with pets, it’s important to adopt a more frequent schedule for checking and replacing HVAC filters. Between 1 and 3 months would be the ideal time for pet owners to check their filters. This proactive approach ensures that the filters continue to function well and maintain the efficiency of the HVAC system.

What Happens If You Wait Too Long To Change The Filter?

Neglecting to replace your furnace filter timely can have several detrimental effects. These include:
  • ncreased Energy Bills: A dirty air filter forces your HVAC system to work harder, consuming more energy and hiking up your bills. Efficient airflow is crucial for energy conservation.
  • System Damage: A filter clogged with dust, and debris puts extra strain on your heat exchanger and other components. This can lead to breakdowns, overheating, and costly repairs.
  • Poor Air Quality: A dirty filter comprises the minimum efficiency reporting of your HVAC filters, reducing their ability to remove contaminants. This leads to poor indoor air quality and potential health risks.
  • Comfort Issues: Your home’s comfort can suffer due to limited air circulation. A clogged filter disrupts the balance of warm air and cool air in your home, resulting in uneven temperatures and discomfort.
Regularly checking and replacing your filters ensures that the air in your home remains clean and your system operates efficiently. For specific guidance, consult the manual for your heating and cooling system or reach out to a professional for advice on maintaining optimal indoor comfort and air quality.

Where Is The Furnace Filter Located In My Home?

The location of your furnace filter can vary depending on your home’s setup. Common locations include:
  • In a slot on the furnace itself.
  • Behind a return-air vent.
  • In the wall closest to your furnace
More often than not, you’re going to find your home’s furnace filter close to your furnace or air conditioning system.

Which Way Is Correct? Your Furnace Air Filter’s Direction

The correct orientation of your furnace air filter is crucial for its operation:
  • Look for an Arrow on the Filter: This arrow indicates airflow direction and should point toward the furnace.
  • Wire Mesh Side: If there’s a wire mesh, it should face the furnace to prevent the filter from bulging.

Furnace and Air Conditioning Maintenance With Anthony Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric

For comprehensive heating and air conditioning maintenance, including filter replacement and system checks, you can rely on Anthony Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric to ensure your system is running efficiently and effectively. Remember, regular furnace filter changes not only maintain your HVAC system but also improve your home’s air quality. Keep track of the replacement schedule to enjoy a comfortable and healthy living environment. Contact our team now at (816) 313-8132 to set up your next air conditioning service appointment.
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