Fall and Winter Home Maintenance: The Dangers of Not Changing Your Air Filter
Every year, homeowners are encouraged to change or clean their air filters, especially before fall and winter when people spend more time indoors to escape the cold. However, not everyone does.
The air filter in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system plays a very important role in keeping you and your loved ones healthy. Moreover, it can lead to major problems that need expensive repairs and replacement later on. By delaying this one simple chore, you risk putting yourself and your family in danger and lead to unnecessary expenses later on.
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The Impact on Monthly Expenses
Your heating system keeps your home warm throughout the day during the colder months. However, if the air filter is dirty, the furnace would not function properly.
All the dust and dirt that has accumulated on the air filter will block the airflow. If, after you have cranked up the thermostat the house still feels cold, the air filter is a possible culprit. It is preventing the air from reaching every corner of the house and, as a result, the temperature is not rising as it should.
When this happens, it leads to two things, both of which will make you spend more money.
When the airflow is restricted, the furnace has to work harder to warm the house. You have to turn the thermostat all the way up so you and your loved ones can feel cozy in the middle of winter.
You will see the full impact when you receive your utility bills at the end of the month because you will be paying more to keep your home warm. The United States Department of Energy says that replacing a dirty air filter can reduce energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.
Then, a blocked airflow can cause your heating system to break down. It is at risk of overheating. You can hire professional furnace services any time of the year. However, parts and replacement units are hard to come by right now.
The pandemic has caused a global microchip shortage that is currently affecting the heating and air conditioning industry. Microchips are used inside appliances, including furnaces and thermostats. Without it, the system would not know when to come on and off, increase the temperature, etc.
As of September 2021, retailers are still waiting for the shipment of furnaces and air conditioners to arrive. Consumers have to wait longer to receive and install new units.
The Impact on Health
By refusing to change your air filter, you are also putting your safety and health in peril, too.
It is dangerous to delay any maintenance work on your heating and air conditioning system because it has an effect on the quality of the air you breathe at home. You might be getting exposed to dust and other allergens which can exacerbate respiratory symptoms. Because the air filter cannot do its job properly, particles are being circulated throughout the house. It can be dangerous for people who are already experiencing respiratory distress, including those who have chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).
There is also the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that is produced through combustion. It is colorless and odorless which makes it impossible to detect using your sense of sight or smell. You would not know that carbon monoxide is present until you start experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, headache, confusion, weakness, confusion, blurred vision, and, later on, loss of consciousness. The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is by installing a detector and by giving your furnace proper maintenance.
Lastly, dirty heaters are fire hazards. The dust that has accumulated on the unit can ignite and quickly spread throughout your home. An unpredicted spark in the outlet will be enough to burn down the entire property. You regularly have to dust around the house and clean the heating system, including air filters, to prevent house fires.
The National Fire Protection Association warns that house fires occur more frequently during colder months. In fact, heating is the second leading cause of house fires in the U.S. It is also the third leading cause of house fire-related deaths.
Performing maintenance tasks regularly can be tiring and time-consuming. However, all that work is worth it when you realize that you are saving money by taking care of the appliances you use regularly. More importantly, you can protect yourself and your family from any health and safety risks created by malfunctioning devices.
Meta title: Top Reasons You Should Change Your Air Filters
meta desc: The dirty air filters in your heating and air conditioning system pose a risk to your health and safety. It can also lead to expensive repairs and replacements later on.