By regularly replacing the air filter in your home’s HVAC system, you can keep the unit performing at optimal levels. You also get to save money on your energy bills, especially during summer. However, a lot of homeowners tend to forget this simple task, which is why they deal with higher bills every month.
In addition, failing to replace the air filter can lead to maintenance issues that may be costly to repair later on. For instance, a dirty air filter blocks the flow of cold air, causing the coils to freeze up eventually. Another problem that could occur is short cycles.
The air conditioner must cycle on and off every now and then throughout the day, but because of a dirty air filter, its cycles become periodic, leading to noise pollution, uncomfortable temperature changes, and wasted energy.
So, if you haven’t changed it for a long time now or haven’t thought of replacing it yet, then you should watch out for the following signs:
1. You Notice There’s Some Bad Smell
Do you notice some bad smells that didn’t exist before? Well, it could be a result of bacteria buildup in your HVAC unit’s air filter. As air blows through it, the system also releases foul odor through the ducts and then into your entire home.
As soon as you spot any weird smell coming out of your unit, you’ll need to replace the air filter with a durable one from a trusted brand, like Carrier.
But if the problem still persists after replacement, schedule an appointment with a professional HVAC technician to come and check the unit. They can figure out whether the smell is coming from your HVAC system or somewhere else.
2. The Air Isn’t Cold Enough
Inefficiency in an HVAC system can be caused by various problems. If you notice that your air conditioner isn’t releasing air that isn’t cold enough or is blowing warm air, the first thing you should do is to check its air filter.
Dirty air filters prevent cool air from passing through properly, leaving you and your family uncomfortable inside.
But if the cause is not the air filter, you should hire an experienced contractor who can take a look at your unit to determine the cause of the problem and perform the necessary repair.
3. There’s So Much Dirt And Dust On The Air Filter
An air filter will accumulate dirt and dust over time. Thus, it’s normal to see some dirt on it. But if there are so many foreign objects blocking the surface and material of the filter, you need to replace the filter as soon as possible.
A dirty air filter may lead to dirty ductwork that can cause more serious HVAC problems later on.
Moreover, too much dirt and dust on the air filter reduce the performance of your air conditioner, leaving you with an inefficient cooling system.
Because of the buildup of dirt and dust, your unit will have to work harder, which will lead to an increase in your energy bills. And it may even result in maintenance issues sooner than expected.
4. The Air Conditioner Becomes Too Hot While Running
As the unit works harder to compensate for a dirty or clogged filter, it can heat up while running. The outside part of the system may be too hot to touch, or you may even feel warm air blowing out from its back.
Overheating can lead to major and expensive repairs. Most of the time, this can be easily fixed by simply replacing the filter.
5. You’re Facing Rising Energy Bills
When your monthly energy bills start shooting up, it can sometimes be challenging to determine the real cause.
It could be a faulty kitchen appliance or an inefficient air-conditioning system. You also have to consider the fact that your electric bills are going to be higher during summer.
But if your utility bill is way higher than usual, the culprit could be a dirty air filter. This is why routine HVAC maintenance is important. A well-maintained unit will operate more efficiently all the time, letting you enjoy lower energy bills.
6. You Can No Longer Remember The Last Time You Did It
Usually, a home air filter should be replaced every one to six months. HVAC technicians even recommend that you should replace it every three months.
If you have young children, pets, or allergies, then you should consider changing it every one to two months. But if you can’t remember the last time you changed it, then now is probably the right time to get a replacement.
Summing It All Up
The air filter is not the most complicated part of a residential HVAC system. However, it can significantly affect the unit’s performance, as well as the quality of air in your home.
To avoid problems with your unit, be proactive and remember to check the filter regularly and replace it if necessary. With regular checks, you’ll prevent your HVAC system from working hard, increase its lifespan, and reduce the risk of expensive repairs in the future.