Your home’s HVAC air filter plays a crucial role in cleaning the air that circulates through it to ensure allergens, dust, and other particles are trapped and not able to spread through the air. An air filter is easy to overlook, but if not maintained, it can negatively affect your heating and cooling system, health, and home. Read through some common questions people have concerning their air filters and how to make sure they are performing as they should!

What Are the Symptoms of a Dirty Air Filter?

Your filter can be showing you different signs that point to it needing to be cleaned or replaced.

Filter is a different color

If you notice your filter is severely discolored and covered in dust or hair, this is a very obvious sign that your filter needs to be replaced. The particles that you find on this dirty filter are more than likely getting spread throughout your home’s air.

Energy bills are higher than usual

Another way of knowing your filter isn’t working effectively is if you’ve noticed a large spike in your monthly energy bill. When a filter is clogged, it restricts airflow which forces your HVAC system to use more energy and work harder to circulate air throughout your home. Then you end up paying more money for a less effective HVAC system.

Low air flow

When an air filter is clogged, it restricts the air that passes through it. Due to this, your system is working harder but will circulate less air than if you were using a clean filter. 

Rise in physical issues

A number of physical problems can arise when an air filter isn’t clean. This can include fatigue, allergies, headaches, and more.

Can a Dirty Air Filter Make You Sick?

Air filters that don’t get replaced retain months of allergens, dust, and other harmful particles that create unhealthy air in your home. This can result in a number of health concerns.


Headaches can happen due to a dirty air filter collecting mold spores and other grime that will blow through your ductwork.


If you are prone to allergies, HVAC air filters are full of them. The longer a filter goes without getting replaced, the more allergens and dust it collects and eventually spreads around in your home’s air. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning

While not common, this is a serious concern for air filters that have not been cleaned or replaced for a long time. When your heating and cooling system is forced to work harder, your heat exchanger has the potential of cracking. If this happens, your system could be forced to shut down which could result in a fire or release of carbon monoxide.

Does a Dirty Air Filter Effect Performance?

An air filter can negatively affect more than just your air quality. Without taking care of your filter, your HVAC unit can face repairs or even a replacement.

Forces HVAC systems to work harder

When a filter is clogged or dirty with debris and allergens, it takes more effort from your heating and cooling system to circulate air around your home. This can result in decreased air flow, frequent and ineffective HVAC cycles that increase energy costs, and a decrease in the lifespan of your unit.

Unnecessary and costly repairs

Refraining from spending the $5-$30 to switch out your filter can result in needing to shell out a lot more if your unit ends up needing a costly repair or replacement. Dirty air filters can both force your unit to exert more energy causing a potential break or allow dust, dirt, and other particles to get inside the unit causing it to overheat and get damaged.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Clean Home Air Filter?

Improved air flow

A clean air filter allows air to pass through and circulate throughout your home without restriction. Your system won’t have to work as hard, and your filter can still do its job of trapping any harmful particles to protect your home and health.

Increased HVAC system lifespan

Regularly changing out your air filter will ensure that your HVAC system is operating as efficiently as possible. This paired with routine maintenance checks will help keep your HVAC unit alive and kicking for as long as possible before needing a replacement.

Cleaner and healthier air

Replacing your air filter consistently will help purify and maintain good air quality in your home. Once a filter is full and dirty, and can’t keep future allergens and particles from making their way through the air. Making an effort to change out your filter each month will help decrease the number of allergens floating around.

Cut down on energy costs

Clean filters don’t demand as much energy from your HVAC system to function correctly as a dirty air filter does. By making it easy for air to circulate through your home, you’ll avoid paying higher energy bills for an ineffective heating and cooling unit.

How Do You Change a Home Air Filter?

Energy Star recommends checking on your air filter every month. You can search for a filter on your own, or contact Wyckoff to have a certified technician determine which filter is the best option for your unit and complete the replacement for you. The air filter replacement process typically follows this format:

  1. Shut off the furnace
  2. Locate where the filter is
  3. Determine what size and type of filter you’ll need (measure length, width, and thickness)
  4. Remove the old filter and replace with new
  5. Turn the furnace back on

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With Air Filter Replacement by Wyckoff

Replacing your filter is an easy, inexpensive step to take to save money, extend the life of your system and improve your indoor air quality. Contact Wyckoff for information on air filter replacements and to schedule a service check today!