What are the Consequences of Not Changing Your HVAC Air Filter?

Learn what happens if you don't change your HVAC air filter regularly: increased energy costs, damaged equipment, decreased indoor air quality & personal health.

What are the Consequences of Not Changing Your HVAC Air Filter?

The air filter in your HVAC system is an essential component that prevents dust and other debris from circulating through the system. If the air filter isn't changed regularly, not only will debris pass through and clog your HVAC system, but it will also end up circulating around your home. Replacing the air filter and having the HVAC system inspected regularly are part of a preventive maintenance routine. Failing to do so can damage other parts of the system and result in a large repair bill later on.

Changing air filters regularly can help preserve the life of your system and make it work more efficiently. If the air filter is clogged and can't trap contaminants like it used to, those things can go back to the air that everyone in your home breathes. Immediate problems may include headaches, itchy eyes or throat, and dizziness. If the air filters are not changed and problems persist, the long-term effects could be respiratory disease, heart disease, or cancer.

Getting the most value out of your home can be as easy as changing air filters. Homeowners who ignore filters in their heating and air conditioning systems risk increasing energy costs, damaging expensive equipment, and decreasing indoor air quality and personal health. If you have a higher efficiency filter and don't change the AC filter often enough, a buildup of moisture can cause mold to build up in the ducts, leading to serious mold infestations. In general, most air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies recommend changing your air filter every 90 days or 3 months.

The Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating for an air filter measures how effectively the filter prevents dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter into the air stream. These air filters act as barriers to prevent contaminants from entering the HVAC system or circulating in the air. If you haven't changed your home's air filters lately, you're wasting your money that you could easily save by regularly replacing your HVAC air filter. Filters with higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV ratings.

If you notice that your HVAC system isn't working as efficiently, changing your air filters could solve the problem. But if you don't change your HVAC air filter regularly, you may need to change your HVAC system long before that. Reusable filters should be cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions, so your HVAC technician can help. It is recommended that you undergo a regular HVAC maintenance check and replace your HVAC air filter every 2 to 3 months. Air filters typically have a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Report Value) that determines the type and size of contaminants against which the filter will act.