Are Dirty or Clogged Filters Making You Secretly Sick?

The air in your home is full of microorganisms you may not even realize exist. On top of these organisms, we also deal with dust, pollen, pet dander, fungal spores, and a variety of other floating debris.

At James Plumbing and Heating, we take air quality seriously. It’s important to us that our community here in Santa Fe isn’t breathing harmful substances or allergens.

One of the questions we often hear regarding air quality is, “Can the dust in my home make me sick?” While dust is more of an irritant than an illness trigger, there are plenty of things to be wary of apart from dust that could be putting your health at risk.

Fortunately, an easy way to get cleaner air in your home is to ensure your air filters are clean.

Blocked Air Filters as a Culprit

Over time the filters in your HVAC system and AC unit get clogged. All the dust and debris floating around your house passes through these filters. After it gets full, the filter stops filtering. In other words, all that yucky stuff is stuck floating around your air supply.

In the case of your furnace, a blocked filter can also lead to damage to the furnace itself. This leads to lasting damage to the furnace and might cause your home heating bills to go up.

It’s important that filters get changed every 3-months to avoid problems with heating and cooling units. You may need to change them more frequently during busy seasons. For example, your AC unit might need an extra filter change during the summer and your furnace during the winter.

Types of Illnesses Caused by Dirty Filters

When unwanted air pollutants start filtering in through your HVAC system, it can cause a myriad of problems. Some of the most common symptoms experienced are cold symptoms such as:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

Individuals with asthma or allergies often experience this and worse. If symptoms are left untreated, and air quality remains poor, you could get a respiratory or sinus infection.

Long-Term Negative Impact

Along with the respiratory health problems caused by pet dander and dust in the air, you could face long-term issues within your home. Temperature and moisture impact safety in other ways.

One of the biggest issues we’ve noted about clogged air filters is circulation weakens throughout the ductwork. Less air is being forced through your home, which leads to humidity and moisture imbalances.

Humidity creates a breeding place for mildew to form. Mold causes more severe symptoms than pollen, including:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

Mold can also cause staining and lead to the growth of other things, such as fungi. Fungi eat away at wood and other materials, causing permanent damage to your home.

Air Quality Checks

One thing you can do, apart from regularly changing your air filters, is to have the quality of your air checked annually. An experienced professional can check the air in your home to check for:

  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Pollutants
  • Dust
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Radon

Air quality checks help prevent illness by treating air where the quality is hindered. You may be recommended to get a dehumidifier, humidifier, air purifier, or simply use a different type of air filter on your HVAC system.

If the Filter Doesn’t Do the Trick

Unfortunately, clogged filters can lead to dirt and debris entering your HVAC system and ductwork. When this happens, mold growth and other air pollutants end up inside the vents, blowing into your home with the air.

Contacting a reputable HVAC company is the best way to counteract this issue. Ductwork cleaning, furnace cleaning, and even AC cleaning can all make a big difference to air quality and the longevity of your units.

It’s recommended that homeowners have HVAC systems cleaned annually. If you know your filter hasn’t been changed in a while, you may need to have the rest of the system checked out. You can do some maintenance yourself but wiping down exterior portions of the floor grates and AC unit and vacuuming inside the vents you can reach.

Contact James Plumbing and Heating Today

If you live in Santa Fe and have concerns about your air quality, James Plumbing and Heating can help. Our team is well-versed in filter maintenance and HVAC care. To learn more about how changing your filters can benefit your health, give us a call. You can also check out our services online.

Have a plumbing or HVAC issue?
Call us now! (505) 473-7148

About Us

James Plumbing & Heating has been solving Santa Fe’s plumbing, heating, and cooling needs for over 30 years. With the best service technicians in town, it’s no wonder why we have some of the highest online reviews in the area! Call today to learn more.

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