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Four Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Heating and Cooling System’s Air Filter


The air filter in your heating and cooling system provides a valuable service, so long as you remember to keep it clean. The air filter is typically constructed of a cardboard frame with some type of filtering materials and fibers. These materials and fibers are responsible for removing dust, pet dander, allergens, spores, pollen, and other pollutants from indoor air.

Whenever your air conditioning unit or furnace runs, air is drawn into the return air vent, where the filter is located. As the air passes through the filter, it removes impurities from the air. Over time, the filtering materials and fibers start to become dirty and will eventually clog. At this point, the air filter is no longer effective at removing impurities. Plus, things can start to go wrong with your air conditioning and furnace.


dirty air filter


Honestly, remembering to change the air filter on a regular basis is something most of us tend to forget. Fortunately, there are several signs you can watch for that mean it is time to replace the air filter with a new one.

1. Increase in Energy Bills

If your energy bills increase suddenly and there hasn’t been a recent heat wave or cold snap, chances are the air filter is dirty or clogged. A very dirty and clogged air filter causes air conditioners and furnaces to work harder and run longer to maintain the desired indoor air temperature.

In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a dirty and clogged air filter with a new, clean one can help reduce your energy bills by as much as five to fifteen percent.

2. Dust Accumulates Quickly

Dirty and clogged air filters are not able to remove dust and other impurities from the air. Instead, these items can get sucked into the air circulation system and blown out of air vents into all the rooms within the home. If you just dusted and, a few days later, you notice everything is covered in dust again, it means it is time to install a new air filter.

3. Allergies Seem Worse Than Normal

If you or someone in your home has allergies, they can be triggered more easily when the air filter is dirty or clogged. If you are sneezing constantly, or you notice your kids seem to have symptoms of a cold or the flu, you will want to check your air filter and change it. In addition, if you or someone in the home has asthma, dirty air filters will trigger asthma attacks more frequently.


Dirty Air Duct Cover

4. The Return Air Vent Is Dusty and Dirty

If you notice cobwebs and strings of dust and dirt on the intake vents on the return air vent, this is a good sign the filter needs to be replaced. You will want to remove all this dust and dirt when installing a new air filter to improve airflow.

To help you to remember to check your air filter monthly and not have to wait for these signs to appear, set a reminder on your smartphone. If you need help changing the air filter or require heating and air conditioning repair or maintenance, please feel free to contact A+ Services at 360-491-1400 today!

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