Can a Dirty Air Conditioner Filter Make You Sick?

If the filter is dirty, everything that goes beyond the filter is dirty too, including the air you breathe. This fills your home with dust and allergens, which can cause a number of physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, chest tightness, and cold symptoms. A clogged filter can also cause the heating and cooling system to become inefficient. All air that passes through your systems must pass through the filter.

When the filter is dirty and dusty, air flow is restricted, causing your heating and cooling system to work harder than it should and resulting in premature wear, a total system breakdown, or expensive utility bills every month. When I researched this myself, all I found were scary articles about something called “pulmonary air conditioning”. It is a very rare and serious immune reaction to small particles in the air, but according to Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a pneumologist at USC's Keck School of Medicine, it isn't the only problem caused by a dirty air conditioner.

When you don't maintain your air conditioner, it accumulates high concentrations of dust, pollen and mold. At most, this could aggravate allergies and asthma. In the worst case scenario, it can cause infections. When an air filter is clean, its main function is to filter dust, mold spores, pollen and other matter suspended in the air. The problem is that when an air filter is dirty or “full”, its ability to filter these particles decreases dramatically.

Over time, contaminants basically re-enter the ducts, meaning they can move freely 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. Consult the user manual that comes with the heating system to determine how often the filter should be changed, as well as to better understand what MERV rating is recommended for optimal air cleaning and system efficiency. You can reduce the amount of hair that ends up in the air conditioner filter by brushing and cleaning your pet's hair regularly. An air conditioning filter helps remove impurities from the air such as pet dander, dust and bacteria.

After all, its main responsibility is to prevent contaminants from reaching the air your family breathes. When the filter is clogged, it cannot trap air contaminants as well as usual and they are expelled through the ducts into the living space. An air filter can collect and house these allergens and allow them to circulate in homes when air conditioning is used. If you spend your days indoors but eventually feel tired and sick, be sure to check your air conditioner. Basically, an overloaded air blower can completely fail causing the entire system to fail and costing thousands of dollars to repair or replace it.

Although this is not a bad thing on its own, many people don't understand that pleated filters have to be replaced much more often leaving them dirty by filtering the air. A clean air filter at the source of your home's cold air supply is a great way to reduce indoor allergens. The health problems you experience as a result of a dirty filter are likely due to allergic reactions to particles in the air. To avoid this issue altogether it's important to regularly check your air conditioner filters and replace them when necessary. In conclusion, if you want to keep your family healthy and safe from airborne contaminants it's essential that you keep your air conditioner filters clean at all times. This will ensure that your heating and cooling system works efficiently while also preventing any health issues related to breathing in contaminated air.