Changing the filter for a heating and cooling system helps keep the AC repair technician away, and it is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to care for your unit. While the process is simple, it is also one that is often forgotten, and this can cause havoc on your unit over time. Preventing AC repairs doesn’t have to be complicated, and one of the most important things you can do is recognize the signs that it’s time to change your filter. To help you get started, here are five signs to be on the lookout for.

#1: Your unit is struggling to work

If you notice that airflow is not as strong as usual or that your unit is struggling to meet the desired temperatures, take a look at your filter. There is a chance that the screen could be clogged and this is the primary source of the problem. If you check your filter, and it is clean, then you may need to call an AC repair technician to diagnose the problem. This is also an excellent opportunity to ask the heating and cooling technician any questions you have about changing your filter.

#2: It’s been over 30 days since you last changed the filter

You should have cleaning and changing your filter down to clockwork by utilizing timers and reminders on the calendar. If you change your filter randomly, make sure you don’t go beyond thirty days. When you start to notice that your screen is always completely clogged when you clean it, it’s time to change your routine and set more reminders. Even if your HVAC unit is running a week here and there with a clogged filter, you can reduce the lifespan and cause components to run down prematurely.

#3: You check the filter and there is no room for air to flow through

While this may seem like a no-brainer, there are many people that wait until the filter is completely full before changing or cleaning it. You want the air to be able to flow through so that it can catch the particles like dirt and dander. While you want to make the most of your filters, you also don’t want to extend them beyond their intended lifespan.

#4: You’ve had more foot traffic than normal

If you have large gatherings at your house whether they are during the holidays, for a monthly book club, or your kid’s soccer team, you’ll need to check your filter. While most months will be normal, when there is a lot of foot traffic, more dirt and dander are brought into the home and caught in the filter. During times like this, make sure you are checking the filter more routinely to prevent AC repairs.

#5: You aren’t sure how often you should change your filter

Odds are if you don’t know how often you should change your filter, you probably don’t change it enough. Avoid AC repairs by setting a schedule for filter changes, and if you are forgetful, have someone else in the home or around you help remind you.