What Lurks in Your Dirty Air Conditioner Filter

What Lurks in Your Dirty Air Conditioner Filter

It is virtually impossible to imagine a contemporary American home or office without an air conditioning unit. We are simply used to a certain level of air quality and air temperature and we aren’t willing to change.

However, having an AC unit in your home means that you also have to maintain it. Apart from an occasional preemptive maintenance and AC repairs, there’s the matter of cleaning your air filters. HVAC technicians and people who work in the field will tell you that you need to clean or change your air filters every month or so.

They have a good reason for that; your air filter stops all kinds of particles from recirculating into the air, but it can only be effective if the filter is clean.

Here’s what your air filter after a month or more of service.

Volatile Organic Compounds

A lot of products we use on a daily basis contain VOCs. These compounds usually dissipate harmlessly and don’t have any noticeable negative effects on us. However, if you decide not to clean your air filter and continue using your AC unit, the same VOCs can be recirculated through your house several times.

When not allowed to dissipate naturally, these compounds can cause a lot of unpleasant if not particularly dangerous health issues like nausea and dizziness. However, if you use these chemicals extensively, you run the risk of having more severe effects like lung and eye irritation.

Mold and Mildew

If your house has excess dampness in the air or on the surfaces like walls and ceilings, there is a chance that you may develop a mold problem. That is a problem which you need to attend to as soon as possible since the spores that mold produces can have allergenic properties and may irritate your breathing organs. Furthermore, black mold is toxic in addition to its allergenic properties.

All the spores from mold and mildew are captured by the air filter of your AC unit, but only up to a point, when it is time to replace or clean it. If you fail to do so, you may find yourself without protection from mold.

Common House Dust

The largest percentage of the house dust consists of our dead skin cells and hair. If you have pets, they contribute to the amount of dust in your house. Air filters are good at containing that dust, but once they are full, they not only lose the capacity to capture any more dust, they also become a hindrance to a proper functioning of the whole AC system.

You may feel that your AC is not working as effectively as it used to. You can contact an HVAC repair technician to look at your unit, but before you do, make sure to check whether your air filter needs to be changed.


Finally, among all other particles which are captured by your air filter, there are some compounds which can be a pretty fertile breeding ground for bacteria and other kinds of germs. These bacteria can then very easily be recirculated into the air in your house. If you do not replace or clean the air filter, you won’t be able to root out the cause of the problem, and you may experience prolonged or recurring health problems.

Keeping your AC filter clean and fresh may seem tedious, but it is a very easy task and the benefits of doing so regularly are numerous and evident. An added benefit is that you will probably prolong the life span of your AC unit and prevent breakdowns.

Editorial Team
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One Comment

  1. Nippon says:

    Useful Content. Thanks a lot for the info!

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