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What Happens When Your HVAC Air Filter Is Clogged?

Hint: It’s a Lot of Yucky Stuff, But There Is a Solution

Clogged Air Filter, indoor air quality

We talk a lot in this space about the necessity of changing your HVAC air filter at least every 3-6 months, but rarely discuss what happens if you don’t swap it out on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at what occurs as a result.

So, what happens when you don’t change the filter, anyway?

Greater exposure to dust, mold, pollen and possible bacteria

This becomes more a list of medical issues rather than topics for an HVAC blog, but let’s just say dirty air filters have been linked to a greater incidence of respiratory symptoms for household residents, including, but not limited to, coughing, chronic sore throats, runny noses, sneezing, wheezing, asthma flare-ups and even low-grade fevers and headaches. And that’s just the start. “Sick building syndrome,” of which dirty air filters are just a part, has been proven to lead to a greater incidence of long-term respiratory issues, reduced immune system function and frequent infections. Key takeaway? The yucky stuff that gets blown around by your HVAC system with a dirty or compromised air filter in place is not something you or your family ever need to be around. The Los Angeles Basin has enough trouble with outdoor air quality. Make your home a refuge from pollutants by providing clean, safe indoor comfort.

Increased energy usage and higher HVAC bills

For those family members who might remain indifferent to the possible health problems resulting from a dirty air filter, money usually talks. The reality is that a clogged air filter reduces airflow throughout your HVAC system. In turn, your equipment must work harder to provide the same ambient temperature that a system with a clean air filter would normally. This means greater strain on your HVAC, as well as the system using more energy than it otherwise would. Translation: higher than normal utility bills, plus a greater risk of overall breakdown. This results in more repair costs and sooner HVAC replacement. Why spend money when you don’t have to? Changing your air filter is an inexpensive proposition, and one that will save you money, too.

Hotter or colder indoor temperatures than desired

As mentioned above, a dirty air filter means your system will not be able to regulate airflow as well as it would otherwise. Because of that, your system will not be able to heat or cool as effectively, either. Again, this is an easily fixable problem. Replace your air filter at least every three to six months; perhaps more if you have a pet or are particularly sensitive to indoor air quality. We know some people who change their air filters every month! Because they’re relatively inexpensive and available almost everywhere, it’s easy to swap them out as often as you’d like. Pick up some extra ones next time you’re at the hardware store, or ordering online.

Chances are after reading this, you’ll probably change your air filter. Remember, it’s usually pretty uncomplicated, and an easy chore you can do yourself. But if you’re still not convinced, don’t worry. We still like you! We just maybe won’t plan on breathing next time we stop in to say hello.


Call Air-Tro today for questions about changing your air filter. We specialize in providing safe, effective indoor comfort that saves energy too! Get in touch at (626)357-3535.