Air Conditioner Filter Safety Risks

Regardless of how much time you and your family spend at home, the quality of the air that you breathe while in your house can have a significant effect upon your overall health. If the air in your home is regulated by an air conditioner, ensuring that you understand how an air conditioner filter operates can help to eliminate unnecessary safety risks. Although air conditioning units have improved in recent years to accommodate changes to health policy on a national level, your home's system may be compromised if the air conditioner filter is old, dirty or installed incorrectly.

The Importance of an Air Conditioner Filter

An air conditioner works by transferring air in a room through a cooling system, either in a central location or localized to the room specifically. The conditioner chills the air by a process of refrigeration and then returns the cooled air to the room, which in turn forces additional air into the conditioner ducts.

As the air transferal process occurs, the air conditioner filters out debris in a room. This serves to both keep the various parts of the conditioner clean and functional and to remove potentially harmful particles in the air. Depending upon the quality of the conditioner, your air conditioning system may be able to effectively collect a variety of mites, smoke and dust particles as well as other allergens and harmful particulates.

The Effects of a Malfunctioning Air Conditioner Filter

If the filter in your air conditioning system doesn't work properly, the system can no longer effectively remove potentially harmful particles from the air. As a result, these particles remain available in the air that you breathe. Some of the potential health risks associated with these particles include the following:

  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Congestion
  • Irritated eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory infections

When to Replace an Air Conditioner Filter

The lifetime of your air conditioner filter depends upon the air conditioning system that you use, as well as the size of the air conditioned space and the amount of time per day that you operate the system. The time of year may also influence the functioning of an air conditioner filter, as pollens and other particles tend to be more prevalent during the summer, causing filters to become clogged and ineffective in a shorter period of time.

Typically, an air conditioner filter should be replaced every 2 to 3 months. However, if you have pets or plants in your home, you may need to change the filter more frequently. As a rule of thumb, check your air conditioner filter once a month and be prepared to replace it as often.

Indoor air tends to be significantly more contaminated with dust and other potential allergens than outdoor air. Because we statistically spend an increasing amount of time indoors each year, it is crucial that we ensure that the air we are breathing while we are inside is clean and free of harmful particles. Knowing the benefits of keeping a clean and functional air conditioner filter, as well as when and how to replace it, will help you to protect the health of anyone who enters your home.