Can a Dirty Air Filter Make You Sick?

It's no secret that air pollution can have a negative impact on your health, but did you know that a dirty air filter can also make you sick? As long as you change your air filter regularly, you can minimize the effects of dirty air. Contaminants and small particles can cause itchy eyes or throat, headaches, and even more serious illnesses if the filter is not kept clean. With regular filter changes, the indoor air in your home will be clean, safe and fresh. 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, and ultimately can lead to premature wear and tear, total system failure, or costly utility bills every month. If the air cleaner is clogged and can't keep contaminants out of the air as they should, those elements can return to the air you breathe. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) recommends that those affected frequently check their air filters and, if the filter is disposable, replace them every three months.

The good news is that you can improve the air quality in your home quickly, since it only takes a few seconds to change an air filter. This means that you can be much more diligent in remembering to replace your air filter regularly. If you forget to replace the air filter for an extended period of time, there are often devastating results. The accumulation of particles and contaminants connects to the filter and acts as a blanket that blocks the flow of air.

If the air filter becomes too congested during the summer cooling season, it can cause a lack of air flow to the evaporator or cooling coils. Studies show that indoor air pollution caused by a dirty air filter can trigger allergic reactions and sinus congestion in people who are allergic to animals, pollen and mold. Most residential homes can accommodate air cleaners up to MERV 13, but you may want to consult with a professional HVAC technician before using any product other than MERV 9.Fortunately, illnesses and symptoms caused by dirty air filters are reversible if regular maintenance is ensured. 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. Just as outdoor air quality affects your health, there is growing evidence that indoor air quality can too. Poor circulation caused by a clogged filter can cause unwanted moisture to stick around and cause mold, which is a pain to remove and can lead to long-term health complications.

Airborne particles come in a variety of sizes, most of which cannot be seen. Particles smaller than 10 microns, such as those mentioned above, are easily inhaled. These particles have the potential to irritate the eyes, nose and throat and affect both the lungs and the heart. So if you're wondering if forgetting to regularly change your air filter is really that important - yes! One of the purposes of an air filter is to filter out all microscopic particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, plant spores and mold, and even smoke. If an air filter becomes clogged, poor circulation will occur. The bottom line is that if you want to keep your family healthy and safe from airborne pollutants in your home, it's important to remember to change your air filters regularly.

Kristy Letman
Kristy Letman

Typical music practitioner. Professional beer enthusiast. Hipster-friendly pop culture buff. Proud travel geek. Proud social media fan.

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