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Dirty, Neglected Air Conditioning Filters Affect Your Family’s Health

Updated on August 22, 2009

The quality and effectiveness of the air conditioning filters you install and your family’s health are indelibly connected. Do you really know what your family is breathing?

It’s a good question to ask yourself.

We all face a variety of risks to health as we go about our day-to-day lives. Driving in cars, flying in planes, engaging in recreational activities, and being exposed to environmental pollutants all pose varying degrees of risk. Some risks are simply unavoidable. The good news is the quality of the air in your home is one risk that you can do something about and it can be as simple as changing your air conditioning filters.

When it comes to air pollution, there's no place like home. Today, most homes are well insulated and airtight to keep the weather outside, but they also keep airborne contaminants inside. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we spend as much as 90 percent of our time indoors where it can be polluted two to five times higher—and occasionally more than 100 times higher—than outdoor levels.

The Pesky, Household Dust Mite
The Pesky, Household Dust Mite

As a result, the EPA has identified indoor air pollution as one of the top five urgent environmental risks to public health. This makes the performance of your air conditioning filters more crucial than ever.

The dust and dirt floating in the air and collecting on end tables and bookshelves is only a fraction of what's actually swimming around in the air: an invisible mix of dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold, and smoke that can be annoying to breathe and hazardous to your health.

When your air conditioning filters are clogged because they haven’t been changed, the resulting poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

It can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue. At greater risk are people who already have respiratory diseases like the elderly and young children.

Having a well functioning air conditioning filter is the first line of defense against these possible problems. A high quality filter can capture the minute particles that float around your home in the air your family breathes. Simple irritants like sneezing, a runny nose or watery eyes can be alleviated by making sure that your filter is changed regularly.

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    • profile image

      Mel 

      3 years ago

      We have recently moved into a 19 year old home. It has been well maintained except for the air filters. It looks as though they have never been changed! We had mold removed and lights added to the system to stop mold growth but the company discouraged duct cleaning. We are having allergy problems and dust in the house. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      peter 

      4 years ago

      I have a fungi growing in my throat from dirty filters and it is incurable.

    • toneyahuja profile image

      toneyahuja 

      7 years ago from India

      superb thoughts on changing furnace filters benefits. i am completely impressed by your views. it should be cared by people same in home ac filters replacement. due to health purpose it is beneficial.

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