Can You Get Sick from Air Filters?

Headaches, sore throat, cough, asthma attacks and shortness of breath are some of the symptoms that some air purifiers can cause. Your air purifier can aggravate many of the health problems you expected it to solve. 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 lead to your heating and cooling system working harder than it should, resulting in premature wear and tear, total system failure, or costly utility bills every month. There are many potential health risks from dirty air filters, particularly for people with allergies, asthma, or respiratory diseases. Even the lowest level of dust, dirt, or pollen can cause a chain reaction and cause serious health problems.

When an air filter is clean, its primary function is to filter out dust, mold spores, pollen, and other airborne materials. The problem is that when an air filter is dirty or “full”, its ability to filter these particles drastically decreases. Over time, contaminants build up in the ducts and are free to blow throughout the house. Inhaling these contaminants can exacerbate symptoms associated with a cold or respiratory infection, not to mention the flu.

For people with asthma, these particles can cause an asthma attack. The health problems you experience as a result of the dirty filter are likely due to allergic reactions to particles in the air. If the filter becomes too clogged with dust, dander and debris, then the blower has to work harder to get air through the blocked filter. Maybe it feels too humid, maybe it smells damp, or maybe it makes them cough because they inhaled too much dust or pollen floating in the air.

However, in many cases, the air filter is just one piece of the puzzle that contributes to poor air quality. If the air filter is the main source of the air quality problem in the house, changing the air filters may be the best solution. When these particles are not removed, they can block air from passing through the filter, making the HVAC system less efficient. 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. 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.

It is necessary to check the condition of installed air filters and replace or clean them in time. We signed up for a maintenance plan which makes me feel better about having someone check my elderly parents' heating and air conditioning twice a year. If you're not sure what a dirty air filter looks like, check its color to see if it has turned dark or gray. An air filter that has been clogged and contaminated for a long time can significantly affect your respiratory system. In addition to regularly changing your air filter, you should also make sure to schedule annual tuning appointments with a professional for your heating and cooling systems. The inefficient filtering function resulting from obstruction deteriorates air quality which in turn leads to various respiratory health problems.

Many homeowners don't realize that a clogged air filter could be causing them to experience cold and flu-like symptoms. HVAC air filters work in partnership with your home's heating and cooling system to keep it running smoothly and efficiently.

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