It's no secret that air filters are essential for keeping your home's air clean and healthy. But what happens if you forget to change them regularly? Can you get sick from not changing air filters? The answer is yes. Not changing your air filter can have serious consequences for your health and the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Immediate problems may include headaches, itchy eyes or throat, and dizziness.
If air filters are not changed and problems persist, long-term effects could be respiratory disease, heart disease, or cancer. Airborne particles come in a variety of sizes, most of which cannot be seen. Particles smaller than 10 microns, such as dust, pollen, lint, mold, hair, animal fur, bacteria and more, are easily inhaled. These particles have the potential to irritate the eyes, nose and throat and affect both the lungs and the heart. A clogged filter can cause the heating and cooling system to become inefficient.
All air passing through your systems must pass through the filter. If the filter is dirty and full of dust, airflow is restricted. This can cause your heating and cooling system to work harder than it should, leading to premature wear and tear, total system failure, or costly utility bills every month. If the air filter is clogged and can't trap contaminants like it did before, those things can go back to the air that everyone in your home breathes. As a result, immediate problems could include itchy eyes or throat, headaches, and more.
If you continue with that same air filter and the problems keep pace, the long-term impacts could be serious. They include possible heart disease, respiratory disease and even cause cancer, experts say. A Lindstrom Air Conditioning whole-house duct cleaning professional uses specialized tools to dislodge dirt and debris in airflow systems, followed by a thorough disinfection process. While the filter is designed to accommodate these tiny elements, the buildup creates a nearly impenetrable barrier so that air cannot fully flow, which can ultimately cause multiple problems to the entire HVAC system. Regardless of why it happens, not changing your air filter regularly can have serious consequences for your health. Refer to the owner's manual that came with your heating system to determine how often to change the filter, as well as to better understand which MERV rating is recommended for optimal air cleanliness and system efficiency. If the owner's manual doesn't mention anything about the filter, or if you can't find it, it's generally recommended to change the air filter once a month during busy heating and cooling seasons.
Air filters are usually made of spun fiberglass or pleated paper and are surrounded by a cardboard frame. Given the money you've already invested in your home, not to mention the priority you place on your health, not changing air filters regularly simply doesn't make sense. Dirty air filters may be to blame for health problems you experience as a result of allergic reactions to particles in the air. If you have pets or smokers in your home, you may need to change the filter more often to avoid problems with indoor air quality. Changing your air filter and relying on experts like Lindstrom Air Conditioning & Plumbing to clean your air ducts are some of the simplest things you can do to improve air quality.