When it comes to a healthy home, the indoor air needs to be clean and free of allergens and other contaminants.
If you have an HVAC system or furnace, it’s important to understand the need for a clean air filter that could otherwise make you or your family sick.
Read on to learn more about how dirty, old air filters can contribute to an unhealthy environment and possibly create a negative effect on your health.
What’s In the Air?
You’re probably already familiar with air pollution like smog and how it can have a serious effect on your health. Dirty indoor air can actually make the symptoms of allergies and asthma even worse.
Even if you can’t see them, there are millions of tiny particles floating around the air in your home. Everything from dust mites and pet dander to pollen and mold can circulate, causing all kinds of unpleasant symptoms.
A few of the most common symptoms of dirty air include sneezing, watery eyes, and trouble breathing. These are serious red flags that may indicate you’ve got issues with the indoor air quality in your home.
If you have carpet, these issues could be made even worse. The carpet traps dirt, dust, and irritants and then it spreads around the room whenever someone walks over it.
Combine having carpet with a dirty, clogged air filter and you have a recipe for disaster. Even if you don’t have asthma or allergies, you will probably feel the effects of dirty air in some form.
In order to combat these problems, you’ll need to make sure your air filter is clean. The air filter helps to trap all of the dust and other particles, preventing them from getting into the air and spreading around.
A clean air filter cuts off excess contaminants before they can get inside your house. But if the filter is clogged, it can’t do its job effectively.
Old or dirty air filters can also cause your HVAC system to malfunction. This can cost you quite a bit of money on expensive repairs in the future.
Air Filter Basics
Every HVAC system and furnace requires the use of an air filter. These important filters come in a range of sizes and types depending on the brand and the size of your system.
Ideally, you should replace your air filter once a month for best results and cleaner air. Filters that sit inside the unit for a long time will get dirty and stop working the way they should.
In some cases, you might be able to stretch out your air filter for longer than a month. If you have a smaller home, less air needs to circulate through the filter, so you might be able to change it less frequently.
People who live in big cities will need to change their air filter more often. Smog and other air pollutants can get into your home, making the HVAC system and your filter work harder to keep the air clean.
If you have pets, you have to deal with things like flyaway fur, dander, and dirt that they track inside. Change your air filter once a month if you own any pets whatsoever.
For people with allergies and other respiratory issues, a clean filter is a must. Always change the filter monthly, and you may even have to change it more often if you’re currently suffering from asthma or allergy symptoms.
Changing the Filter
Some systems have the air filter located behind the main register, while others are located directly in the unit itself. Find out where your filter is and make a note of the size.
You can find the size of your air filter by looking on the side. The edges of the filter should indicate the measurement of your filter in inches to help you purchase the right size for your unit.
If you have allergies or asthma, consider buying an air filter with a HEPA feature. This will ensure that microscopic particles are trapped effectively and will reduce your symptoms.
Some air filters claim that they can last for three months. If you purchase this type of filter, you should check it monthly for any dirt or buildup. Air filters that appear grimy should be changed as soon as possible, even if they claim to last longer than a month.
Once you remove the old filter, you can discard it responsibly. Place it in a trash bag to keep the dirt and dust from flying around the room.
Look at the arrows on your new air filter. These arrows indicate which direction you should install the air filter to match the direction of airflow.
Remember, a dirty air filter can make you and your family sick, so it’s crucial to replace it regularly for a healthier home. Keep a record of when you change the filter and set a reminder on your phone or computer to help you remember to change it every month.
Stay Healthy with a New Air Filter
As long as you change your air filter on a regular basis, you can minimize the effects of dirty air. Pollutants and small contaminants can make you sick if you don’t keep the filter clean.
With regular filter changes, your home’s indoor air will be clean, safe, and fresh.