Why Clogged Air Filters Will Make You Sick

Why Clogged Air Filters Will Make You Sick

The air you breathe is not just a necessary part of your daily routine—it’s also the source of your health.

That’s why keeping your air filter clean and functioning at peak levels is important. But many people don’t realize how important this is until they experience the negative effects of not maintaining their air filters.

Air filters are a crucial part of keeping your body healthy. It keeps out all the dust, dirt, and other nasty stuff lurking in the air outside your home. 

With so many benefits of air filters, why do you need to replace them? 

This article will help you understand why clogged air filters are bad for your health, what you can do about them, and the reason why you should always consider the air filter replacement option if it is clogged.

How Do Dirty Air Filters Make You Sick?

Our homes are our sanctuaries. They’re where we go to escape the stress of the outside world, where we can relax after a draining day at work, and where we can recharge our batteries before braving the next round of challenges.

But one thing that can make all those things harder is dirty air filters.

Your home’s air filter plays an important role in keeping your indoor environment clean and healthy, but it starts to have the opposite effect when it gets too dirty. That’s because dirty air filters can cause a build-up of dust, mold spores, pollen, and other irritants that can harm your health—and even lead to respiratory infections!

If you want to keep your family safe from these risks and maintain good indoor air quality in your home (which is so important for children), here are some ways dirty air filters can make you sick:

Increased allergens and irritants

A clogged or dirty air filter is less effective at trapping and removing airborne allergens and irritants such as dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and bacteria. These particles can circulate in the air and be inhaled, leading to allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and irritations in susceptible individuals. Symptoms of clogged air filters may include sneezing, coughing, congestion, watery eyes, throat irritation, and exacerbation of asthma or allergies.

Reduced indoor air quality

Dirty filters restrict airflow, which makes the air inside your home less fresh and clean. This creates an environment where dust, pollen, and other allergens can happen and cause respiratory infections.

Increased risk of respiratory infections

When air conditioner filters become clogged with dust, mold, and other contaminants, they cannot do their job properly. This means that the air that circulates through your home is more likely to be filled with harmful germs. That’s why it’s important to call a professional for air filter replacement service every month or so!

Microbial growth

When your air filter becomes clogged with dust and dirt, it can’t effectively clean the air coming into your home, which means microbes can grow in the filter itself. When these microbes start multiplying, they create a health risk for anyone who breathes in the contaminated air they produce.

General discomfort and fatigue

When an air filter becomes clogged with dust and dirt, it can’t effectively clean the air coming into your home, which means more allergens are circulating around the house. That makes it more likely that someone who doesn’t have allergies will experience general discomfort, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

Types of Illnesses Caused by Clogged Air Filters

While a clogged air filter itself may not directly cause specific types of illnesses, it can contribute to bad indoor air quality, which in turn can lead to various health issues. Here are some health problems that can be related to poor indoor air quality resulting from a clogged air filter:

  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
  • Asthma symptoms and attacks.
  • Increased risk of respiratory infections.
  • Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).
  • Fatigue and general discomfort.
  • Respiratory irritation, including coughing and sore throat.
  • Chest pains
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pneumonia

7 Symptoms Of Clogged Air Filters

Your air filter is not just there to make your home smell nice. It is a vital part of your HVAC system, and you must take care of it as such. You can increase the longevity of your system by keeping an eye on the health of your air filter and making sure it stays clean and free from debris.

Here are seven symptoms that indicate a clogged filter:

Reduced airflow 

If you feel like your AC system is struggling to keep up with the temperature in your home, this could be clogged air filter symptoms, and it needs more help than just another dusting.

Decreased performance 

If you notice that your AC unit isn’t cooling as well as it used to, or if it takes longer than normal to cool down after being turned on, this might be an indication that something’s wrong with your air filter.

Unpleasant odors 

If there’s a musty smell coming from inside your home, especially after running the AC for a while, this could also be an indication that something is really wrong with the air filter in your system!

Increased energy consumption

If you notice that your home uses more energy than usual, check your air filters! A clogged air filter will make it harder for hot or cold air to circulate throughout the house, which means that every appliance will have to work harder. This can lead to higher bills and a lower quality of life.

Dust and dirt buildup

When you leave dust and dirt buildup on an air filter for too long, it can start to block the airflow in your home. This means that even if you clean out the particles from inside your HVAC system regularly, they’ll still affect how well it works—and how much money you spend on electricity or gas each month (or year).

Unusual noises 

If your air conditioner is making unusual sounds, it could be a major symptom of a clogged air filter. Clogged filters restrict airflow and decrease the amount of air your system uses to cool your home. A dirty filter can also cause damage to the fan motor and other components in the unit.

Odor issues 

A dirty air filter can cause odors inside your home. If you notice a musty odor near vents or registers, it could be due to a clogged filter. A dirty filter increases moisture levels in the air ducts, leading to mold growth within them.

How Often Should You Replace Your HVAC Filters?

The frequency of HVAC filter replacement can vary depending on several factors, including the type of filter, the system’s usage, and indoor air quality. However, a general guideline is to replace HVAC filters every 1 to 3 months. Here are some factors to consider when determining the replacement frequency:

Filter type

Air filters are made of different materials, and they’re designed to trap different kinds of pollutants. Depending on what kind of filter you use and how much dust or debris your system is exposed to, you may need to replace your filter more or less often. Disposable fiberglass filters typically require replacement every 1 to 2 months, while pleated filters with higher MERV ratings may last up to 3 months.

System usage

The number of hours your system runs per day affects the need for increased airflow, which can result in a faster dust buildup and other contaminants in the filter. Higher usage means more frequent replacement is necessary to maintain optimal performance.

Indoor air quality

Your indoor air quality is a good place to start. If you live in an area with a lot of pollen or dust, you’ll want to change your filter more often. If it’s relatively clean around your home, you can get away with less frequent filter changes.

Occupant sensitivity

The number of occupants in your home can also impact how frequently you need to call a professional for air filter replacement. If you have asthma or other respiratory issues, you may find that changing the air filter more often helps improve your symptoms.

How To Clean A Clogged Air Filter?

If your air filter is clogged, you may need to clean it. How do you do that?

Here are general steps to clean a reusable, washable air filter:

Turn off the HVAC system

Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to turn off your HVAC system to prevent it from pulling in dust or debris during the cleaning.

Remove the filter

Locate the air filter in your HVAC system and carefully remove it from its housing. Take note of the direction of airflow indicated on the filter for reinstallation.

Assess the condition

Inspect the filter for dirt, debris, and clogs. If it appears heavily clogged or damaged, replacing it may be better than cleaning it.

Vacuum or brush off loose debris

Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a soft brush to gently remove loose dust and debris from the filter. Be careful not to damage the filter media.

Wash the filter

If your filter is washable, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. Typically, you can rinse the filter with water by soaking it in a mild detergent or water solution or using a gentle stream of water to wash away the dirt. Avoid using hot water or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the filter material.

Allow it to dry

After washing, let the filter air dry completely before reinstalling. Ensure it is thoroughly dry to prevent mold or mildew growth.

Reinstall the filter

Once the filter is dry, carefully place it back into its housing, aligning it in the correct direction of airflow as indicated on the filter.

DIY Vs. Professional Air Filter Replacement

You know that air quality is important, but you’re not sure if it’s worth spending the money on a professional to replace your filter or if you can handle it yourself.

If you are confused, then here’s a comparison chart outlining the differences between DIY air filter replacement and professional air filter replacement:

DIY Air Filter ReplacementProfessional Air Filter Replacement
CostTypically lower costHigher costs, including service fee
Skill RequiredBasic knowledge and DIY skillsProfessional expertise and training
Time InvestmentCan be time-consumingQuick and efficient
ConvenienceCan be done at your own paceRequires scheduling an appointment
Equipment NeededBasic tools (e.g., screwdriver)Professional tools and equipment
KnowledgeBasic understanding of HVAC systemIn-depth knowledge of HVAC systems
Proper InstallationMay have a learning curveExpertise in proper installation
AssessmentMay not identify underlying issuesCan detect and address HVAC problems
SafetyDIY safety precautions are necessaryProfessionals trained in safety
WarrantyNo impact on the equipment warrantyMay require professional service for the warranty validity
AssurancePersonal responsibilityAssurance of professional service

Stay Healthy With a New Air Filter!

Your air filter is the first line of defense against allergens, dust, and other particles in your home. It can also be a major source of allergies for you and your family. When it gets clogged or dirty, it’s time to replace it with a new one!

If you’re looking for a professional in Lodi, CA, that can help you with the installation and replacement of an air filter system, look no further than Blackwell Services

We have provided residential air quality services for both residential homes and businesses throughout Lodi and surrounding areas since 2002. We’re committed to providing high-quality service at affordable prices. You’ll get the best deal on all of your home repairs and upgrades when you work with us!

Our technicians are certified and have been vetted using the best practices, which means we’re committed to ensuring you an outstanding customer experience with us and protecting your home from any potential damage caused by poor air filtration systems.

When you call us for air filter replacement in Lodi, our team of experts will come to your house or business and completely clean all your HVAC components: ductwork, coils, blower motor housing, and filters. Then they’ll install brand new filters that will keep your family breathing easy! 

So if you’re ready to breathe easier at home or work—and save money on those expensive allergy medicines—call us today at (209) 369-0991!

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