Although we often think of our homes as a refuge away from the stresses of the outside world, there could be invisible dangers lurking throughout the house. The very air we breathe can be one of the biggest threats. The World Health Organization estimates that 3.8 million people die every year from illnesses caused by poor indoor air quality.
Your home’s HVAC system could be one of the culprits. Whenever you swap out a filthy old filter, you might wonder, “Can a dirty AC filter make you sick?”
To answer that question, we’ll explain where all that filth in your filter comes from and what it can mean for the health of you and your family.
Where Does the Dirt in an AC Filter Come From?
To keep your home at a comfortable temperature, your AC system sucks in air from throughout the house so that it can cool it. But air isn’t the only thing that gets taken along for the ride. Dirt, dust, outside pollutants, and any other contaminants get picked up, too.
Spewing dirt all over the house obviously wouldn’t be good for your home air quality, so before the chilled air is emitted through your vents, it passes through a filter.
When it’s working as intended, your filter will collect nearly all pollutants, leaving you with cold, fresh air. A clogged AC filter, however, will start to struggle. Accumulated dirt may start to come loose and filter back into your home.
This is when the health effects of a dirty AC filter can become a concern.
How Can a Dirty AC Filter Make You Sick?
The short answer is “yes”, poor air quality from not changing the air filter in your house can increase the chances of developing certain health issues.
For example, even the cleanest home will accumulate dust over time. And with dust comes dust mites.
These are microscopic, insect-like pests that feed on dead skin cells, one of the main parts of household dust. They can thrive in any humid environment with a ready food source. Your AC filter makes for an ideal home.
They don’t bite or sting us the way bedbugs or other household pests do, but that doesn’t make them any less of a problem. Their droppings or decaying bodies contain proteins that cause dust allergies. They can also trigger attacks in people who suffer from asthma.
A dirty AC filter can also become a hotbed for bacteria. If you suffer from frequent colds or other infections, it could be because bacteria are breeding out of control and being spewed into your home every time you run the AC.
Even ignoring the bacteria particulates themselves can be a health hazard. Tiny pieces of dust, dirt, and soot can be so small that they get inhaled deep into your lungs. There, they can corrode the alveoli wall, causing lung damage and even lung disease.
Don’t Get Sick Thanks to a Dirty AC Filter
So, can a dirty AC filter make you sick? The short answer is “yes”, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Cleaning your AC filters at least every three months is a great first step to protecting the health of you and your family. But that’s only one problem that could be affecting the air quality within your home.
That’s where Swartz Air Conditioning and Heating can help.