Can You Get Sick from an Old Air Filter?

If the air filter in your home is dirty, it can cause a number of physical symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, chest tightness, and a disorder of cold symptoms that you may not be able to get rid of. Not only that, but a clogged filter can also make your heating and cooling system 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. Additionally, if the air cleaner is clogged and can't keep contaminants out of the air as they should, those items can return to the air you breathe. As a result, immediate problems could include itchy eyes or throat, headaches, and more. If you continue with the same air filter and the problems keep pace, the long-term impacts could be serious.

They include possible heart disease, respiratory disease and even cancer, experts say. 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. When an air filter is clean, its primary function is to filter dust, mold spores, pollen, and other airborne matter. The problem is that when an air filter is dirty or “full”, its ability to filter these particles drastically decreases.

Over time, contaminants essentially build up in the ducts, which means they 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. If an air filter becomes clogged, poor circulation will occur. This could cause unwanted moisture to stick around and cause mold, which is a pain to remove and can lead to long-term health complications.

Dirty air filters may be to blame for this issue according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). Just as outdoor air quality affects your health, there is growing evidence that indoor air quality can too. With a clogged air filter, air will not flow through the coils properly causing them to stop working and causing a total system failure. The health problems you experience as a result of the dirty filter are likely due to allergic reactions to particles in the air. If you experience any reaction to the air conditioning or air quality in your home, see your primary care doctor for more information. For example, suppose debris from a dirty air filter has contributed to higher measurements of mold in a home's air.

However, most of the time changing the air filter probably seems like one of those inconsequential tasks that is OK to postpone. In addition, the EPA states that some MERV 12 filters and most MERV 13 filters are almost as effective as HEPA filters in reducing airborne particulate matter related to adverse health effects. While the screen is designed to contain these small objects, the buildup can produce a wall that blocks the flow of all air. 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. While a dirty air filter is sure to degrade a home's air quality it will also cause system overwork and potential breakdown. When airflow is blocked by an old clogged filter hot and cold air can't go far enough where it's needed. 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. There are many tasks to do at home and changing your air filter is probably one of the easiest to forget.

However it's important not to overlook this task as it can have serious consequences on your health.

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