How a Dirty Air Filter Can Affect Your Family’s Health

Dirty Air Filter


This guest post is brought to you by  MVP Air Conditioning, offering the best AC repair in Tucson.

You may have heard that neglecting to change your AC unit’s air filter can affect your system’s efficiency, but that doesn’t make it easier to remember to change a dirty air filter! Fortunately, new AC technology includes digital thermostats that automatically remind you to change the filter when it’s time. You may be even more motivated to change the filter regularly when you realize just how important it is to health and safety. Here are three ways that a dirty air filter can affect your family’s health.

Respiratory irritation

The contaminants in your air can have a detrimental effect on the respiratory system. Some contaminants your AC filter works hard to filter out include:

Even individuals who don’t have allergies may sneeze when a cloud of dust rises, and these pollutants can cause irritation on a daily basis. Unfortunately, an AC filter’s efficiency decreases as it fills up, which means it’s less able to keep particles out of your AC system. Once pollutants have made their way into the ductwork, they’re free to blow throughout your entire house, exiting at registers and catapulting across the room until someone breathes them in. The irritation caused by these particles can create inflammation of the delicate membranes in the respiratory system, resulting in discomfort and hay-fever-like symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose.

Aggravation and development of respiratory conditions

In addition to irritating sensitive mucous membranes in the respiratory tract, pollutants in the air can also set off or worsen pre-existing conditions. Serious asthma attacks can be caused by pollen, mold spores, or even dust particles, depending on the individual. And these pollutants can do much more than simply trigger pre-existing conditions. For example, studies have shown that small children can be more likely to develop asthma when living in an environment with higher measurements of mold in the air. While it’s impossible to get rid of every airborne mold spore from your home (they can float in when you open the door), taking steps to reduce their number is an important step in protecting your family’s health. Keeping your home free of mold growth and keeping your air filtration system in working order are two main ways to keep mold counts down. And in addition to asthma, pollutants in the air can lead to other health conditions. High levels of exposure to irritants can cause allergies to develop, such as a mold allergy or a dust mite allergy. According to the Mayo Clinic, a mold allergy may cause cold-like symptoms including:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery, red eyes
  • Itchiness

These can be similar to the symptoms of respiratory irritation, but even more severe. Even adults who haven’t shown symptoms before can develop an allergy when high levels of a potential allergen are present in the environment.

Vulnerability to heat-related illnesses

Besides allowing contaminants to permeate your AC system, a dirty filter also tends to block the progress of air due to the thick mat of dust that’s built up inside the filter. This means that your AC system has to work harder to draw air, leaving less energy left over for the actual cooling and distribution of this air. An AC system in this situation can’t cool as well or as efficiently as it could with a clean filter. It may not seem like a big deal, but the reduction in effectiveness means that your unit won’t be able to keep the temperatures down in the hot days of summer. In addition to sweatiness and discomfort, this can lead to serious problems for your family if the unit overworks itself in an attempt to keep you cool. An overworked unit can ice over (even in summer heat) or simply fail catastrophically, requiring expensive repairs and leaving your family in the lurch with no way to cool your living space. This is not only uncomfortable but also dangerous. In hot climates such as Tucson’s, heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion are a real possibility. Keeping your AC unit and system in good working order is a crucial part of protecting your family from the heat of summer.


The Maids of Tucson understand just how important it is to keep every area of your home clean. That’s why we have a 22 point healthy touch system. If you’re concerned about the health and happiness of your home, give us a call today (520) 795-7977


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