Do you know what happens if you don’t change your HVAC filter? While it’s a little hard to believe that such a small part can harm your family and result in health hazards. HVAC filters are an essential home component. It removes all the impurities from the indoor air, keeping your family safe from any allergies.

Clogged air filters can run havoc on your HVAC system. If you’re still unsure what happens if you don’t change your HVAC filter, it can be a health hazard. It can lead to system failure, and the components won’t last long or consume more energy. Additionally, your indoor air quality will decrease, taking longer to regulate temperature. 

You might face serious health issues if you haven’t cleaned or changed your HVAC filter in a month or more. This guide with detailed information will tell what happens if you don’t change your HVAC filters.  

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What Are HVAC Air Filters?

Air filters are among the most crucial components of your HVAC system. These filters block out dust particles, pollen, or other pollutants from your indoor air. This, in turn, would leave your air fresh and healthy. 

HVAC air filters are used to improve the indoor air quality of your home. But, just as it is essential to install them, it is also necessary to change your HVAC filter regularly. Dirty filters cost you more in the long run and would also depreciate your air quality. 

How Do Air Filters Work?

We’ll discuss how these filters work in this section and go over what can happen if you don’t change your HVAC filter. Usually, HVAC filters are either made of spun fiberglass or pleated papers. They generally have a cardboard frame and are inserted into your HVAC system to protect the HVAC system and the air you breathe. 

Air filters have a simple process typically. The dirty air goes in on one side of the filter, and the clean air comes out from the other side.

When you break this process down, air filters act as a barrier to pollutants. They catch them before they can enter the vent. The fan attached to the HVAC system sucks out the air from the room.

While air passes through these fiberglass or paper filters, they capture and neutralize the pollutants. The clean air is then circulated into the entire room. Your HVAC filters can filter out most pollutants from your indoor air. However, it depends on the type of filter you use. 

Most low-cost HVAC systems can only trap significant pollutants like pollen or dust mites. The sensitive filtration systems can also filter out the tiny impurities in the air. They have several intricate weaves and dense layers of fibers to remove pollutants like animal dander. 

Some advanced air filters have UV filters, which are powerful in killing mold and mildew. Mold contact might be hazardous to your unit. Furthermore, it can degrade indoor air quality and possibly induce allergies in some people. 

Dirty Filter Vs Clean Filter

What Happens if You Don’t Change Your HVAC Filter?

Air filters are usually at the bottom of everyone’s priority list. This is because people don’t understand their importance and how they work. Below are some of the impacts of not changing your HVAC filter.

1. Higher Energy Bills

If you notice your energy consumption is unexpectedly higher, your air filters may be clogged. When you do not replace your air filters for a while, they become clogged by pollutants. This means that the air cannot flow easily or freely through the system.

When your filters are clogged, your entire HVAC system must work harder to distribute heat or air where needed. This makes your system less efficient and will take up more energy than needed to do its job. 

Since the air runs for longer durations, it will significantly increase your utility or energy bills. These bills are usually more noticeable during the hottest or coldest months.

2. Health Concerns

The entire point of having an air filter is to protect you from all the dust particles and pollutants. Clogged filters cannot work efficiently, making them a health concern. When your HVAC air filters are clogged, they cannot filter out the air properly. This means the pollutants can easily end up back in the recirculated air.

You will notice a few immediate health concerns when you don’t change your HVAC filter for a few months. These include headaches, itchy throat, dizziness, and itchy eyes. If the air filters are still not changed, your family can suffer long-term effects. 

If you’re wondering what’s wrong with a dirty HVAC filter, you should know it can lead to cancer. Long-term effects also include respiratory and heart diseases.

3. Poor Temperature Regulation

If your air filters are clogged, they will not allow enough air to flow through your HVAC system. With this strain on creating airflow, warm or cool air won’t be able to adequately go where it’s needed. This makes your HVAC system inefficient.

When your HVAC system isn’t efficient, it has to work longer and harder to regulate the temperature in your house. There is also a chance that clogged filters can make some rooms too hot in summer or cold in winter. This can lead to seasonal flu and can make your family sick.

4. Decreased Indoor Air Quality

The HVAC filters help remove debris and dust from your indoor air. When your air filters are clogged up, they won’t be able to filter your air efficiently. This means that the dust particles will not only pass the vent but circulate throughout the house. 

These pollutants can settle on the inside components of the HVAC system and affect them. The decreased indoor air quality with pollutants can aggravate your asthma, allergies, or other chronic respiratory diseases and affect brain function.

Airborne Pollutants From Dirty Filter

5. Clamped Up Coils

Most HVAC systems have evaporative coils. After passing through the filter, the air goes to the evaporator coils. They remove the heat or the moisture from the air, keeping your house cool. When your air filters are dirty & clogged, the air won’t flow through these coils correctly. 

When these coils are overworked for a long duration, they can freeze up. A clogged air filter leads to jammed-up coils, resulting in total system failure. The price to fix these coils is much higher than a new air filter. 

Hence, if you wonder what’s wrong with a dirty HVAC filter, you should know it can empty your pocket. New coils can cost you hundreds of dollars, while a good filter costs $40. So you should save time and money and replace your air filters regularly.

6. Components Won’t Last Longer

When the efficiency of your filtration system is reduced; it comes with many more downsides than just an increased electricity bill. The dust getting into the ducts would degrade other moving parts of the HVAC system. They will run slower and draw more power. 

Overusing the filtration system will wear out all the components faster than regular use. The average life period of an HVAC system is up to 20 years. Without regularly replacing your air filters, you can shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system by ten years. 

If you’re still wondering what happens if you don’t replace your HVAC filter, you should be prepared for wear and tear. Changing multiple components of your filtration system can be pretty expensive.

7. Furnace Failure

Your HVAC system works harder and longer when your air filters are clogged. The fans work harder to suck as much air as they can. Eventually, your entire system will be overworked and finally break down. 

If this happens, you would have to replace your HVAC system. This can leave a massive dent in your pocket. An HVAC system can cost you anywhere between $4000 and $12000. On the other hand, a filter costs you $40.

This means that it is better to remember and change your HVAC filter regularly than to replace the entire system. Replacing the system will cost you a significant amount of time and money.

8. Moisture and Mold Contamination

If you use high-quality air filters that can filter allergens and spores, you need to be more comfortable. When you forget to change these filters for a few months, it can lead to moisture buildup in your duct. 

This moisture buildup can cause mold to accumulate in your duct, leading to severe mold infestations. The air passes through these ducts five to seven times a day. This recirculated air will bring back whatever is inside the duct with it. It means that mold, pollen, and germs will spread quickly throughout your house. 

If you’re wondering what’s wrong with a dirty HVAC filter, you should know it can cause mold infestation and allergies. These allergies can cause reactions such as runny nose, red eyes, sneezing, skin rash, or shortness of breath.

Health Issues From Dirty Hvac Filter

How Often Should Your HVAC Filter Be Changed?

The type of filter you use drastically affects how often you should change your air filters. Your indoor air quality and the area also affect how often you should change your filters. In this section on what happens if you don’t change your HVAC filter, we’ll discuss how soon you should change them.

To ensure that you are changing your filters at the right time, you should always follow the manufacturer’s guide. Most companies suggest you change your filter once every 30 to 60 days. However, this duration will vary depending on several factors. 

If you live in a regular home in an urban area and do not have pets, your filter will last longer. You can change it every once in 90 days. Your filter won’t last long if you have a single pet or live in an industrial area with poor air quality. You should change your air filter every once in 60 days. 

Suppose you have more than one pet or a person who suffers from severe allergies. Then, you should make sure to change your air filter once every 20 to 45 days. If you live in a single-occupant home without pets, your filter can last between 6 and 12 months. This goes for vacation homes as well.

Different brands and filters have varied filtration capacities. Hence, it is always best to check your filter once every 20 days and analyze whether it’s dirty or clogged. This practice can help you save money and keep your family healthy.

Clean Filter Clean Home Clean Lungs

How to Change Your HVAC Filter?

Once you understand the impacts of a dirty HVAC filter, you’ll be tempted to change your HVAC filter as soon as possible. If your filter is all clogged up, you can call an HVAC technician and get it changed. Or, you can do it yourself in a few simple steps. 

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your HVAC Filter Conclusion

HVAC filters are a crucial home component that helps you stay healthy. Replacing these filters regularly is necessary to maintain your HVAC system. So, are you still wondering what’s wrong with a dirty HVAC filter? Let me summarize it for you. 

A dirty HVAC filter can aggravate your allergies, lead to higher energy bills, and reduce the comfort of your home. If not changed for a longer duration, it can reduce the life of your filter components or cause a furnace failure. The situation can get out of hand when you consider the implications of what can happen if you don’t change your HVAC filter.

FAQs about What Happens if You Don’t Change Your HVAC Filter

What Happens if You Don’t Replace Your HVAC Filter?

If you never change your HVAC filter, then there is a good chance that your entire system will eventually break down. You will also experience a few immediate health effects, like aggravated allergies.
If you’re wondering what’s wrong with a dirty HVAC filter, know that it can put a dent in your pocket. Replacing a filtration system can cost anywhere between $4000 and $12000. As the filtration system becomes inefficient, your energy bill will also rise.

How Long Can You Go without Changing the AC Filter?

The lifespan of your air filter would depend upon your environment and type. If you reside in an urban area without pets, a basic air filter can last approximately 90 days.

Does Not Changing the Air Filter Reduce HVAC Life Expectancy?

Using dirty air filters for a long time can significantly impact the lifespan of your HVAC systems. When the filters are clogged, the components must work harder and longer to circulate the air in your home. 
The average life period of an HVAC system is 20 years. When you do not change your filters regularly, the system’s lifespan decreases by ten years. So, are you wondering what’s wrong with a dirty HVAC filter? Well, it can cause extensive damage to your HVAC system.

Why Not Changing AC Filters Reduces Home Comfort?

When you don’t change your air filters for longer, they get clogged up with dirt. This can significantly impact the working of your HVAC system. When less air flows through the ducts, the temperature regulation goes haywire. 

Is No Air Filter Better Than a Dirty One?

Running your HVAC system either dirty or without a filter would severely damage your system. While a filtration system can run without an air filter, it is strictly advised not to do so. You can keep the dirty air filter on the duct until you can replace it. A dirty filter is better than running a system without a filter. 

Do Dirty Air Filters Make Your House Dusty?

When your filter is clogged, it cannot efficiently filter out pollutants from the air. This means there is a good chance that the air will carry significant dust particles and recirculate them in the house. This can make your house dusty. 

Can a Dirty Air Filter Make You Sick?

Clogged air filters are unable to function correctly. Hence, pollutants can still contaminate the air circulating through the ducts. Dirty air filters can aggravate your allergies and cause respiratory or heart disorders. 

What Does a Dirty Air Filter Look Like?

A new air filter is white or off-white in color. If your filter has turned brownish, you should replace it immediately. You can also hold your filter up to the light. If you cannot see through it, it’s time for a change. 

Do More Expensive Air Filters Work Better?

There are many different air filters available in the market for your HVAC system. The more expensive the filter is, does not ensure that it has a better filtration capacity. 

What Does MERV Mean on Filters?

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERVs, report a filter’s filtration capacity. The higher the MERV rating, the better is your filter. The MERV rating identifies the type and size of particulate matter that different MERV-rated filters can efficiently capture.

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