Can You Get Sick from Not Changing Your Air Filter?

As a result of not changing your air filter, you may experience immediate problems such as itchy eyes or throat, headaches, and more. If you continue with the same air filter and the problems persist, the long-term impacts could be serious. These include possible heart disease, respiratory disease, and even cancer, according to experts. To minimize the effects of dirty air, it is important to change your air filter regularly.

Contaminants and small particles can make you sick if you don't keep the filter clean. If the air filter is clogged and can't trap contaminants like it used to, those things can go back to the air that everyone in your home breathes. 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. A clogged filter can cause your 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. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) suggests that dirty air filters may be to blame for certain health issues. 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.

An air filter can collect and house these allergens and allow them to circulate around homes when the air conditioner is in use. 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. Sealed buildings using old filters allow poor quality air to recirculate indoors. We inhale these particles and, depending on their sensitivity, they can cause minor problems such as watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, or trigger symptoms related to asthma and other long-term respiratory complications. The air in your air conditioner is filtered through the system five to seven times a day.

That's a lot of circulation carrying whatever's inside your air conditioner - pollen, mold and germs will spread rapidly throughout any building. All of these can make people sick. Change the air conditioner filter and avoid sick building syndrome. Your employees will thank you for not causing them to suffer from allergies and illnesses. If you have a home in Miami or other areas where there is often moisture in the air, other problems can occur such as the growth of bacteria that can make you sick and mold that can take control and be costly to remove. There are many tasks to do at home, and changing your air filter is probably one of the easiest to forget.

The EPA reports that air filters with MERV between 7 and 13 are your best option for removing some of the airborne particles that cause the biggest health problems. If the air conditioner sits around the coils then you are heating or cooling the same air and not pushing it through the ducts. In addition to regularly changing your air filter, you should also make sure to schedule annual adjustment appointments with a professional for your heating and cooling systems. If the filter becomes too clogged with dust, dander, and debris then the blower has to work harder to pass air through the blocked filter. If the owner's manual doesn't mention anything about the filter or if you can't find it then it's generally recommended to change the air filter once a month during busy heating and cooling seasons.

There are many homeowners who shrug their shoulders and get their boiler or air conditioner tuned every year. Keep reading to learn more about how the air filters work in your HVAC system and what can happen when they aren't changed on a regular basis. These are serious warning signs that may indicate that you have problems with your home's indoor air quality. They are inserted in a specific location in HVAC systems and act as a barrier to prevent contaminants and other particles from circulating in the air or reaching sensitive parts of the system.

These arrows indicate in which direction to install the air cleaner to match the direction of the airflow. All of the air in your home along with airborne particles travel through this single point several times in a single day.

Willis Diruzzo
Willis Diruzzo

Typical sushi enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble music geek. Typical internetaholic. Subtly charming social media maven. Lifelong bacon buff.