Although air filters may be one of the least thought-of or appreciated devices in your home, replacing them regularly is crucial to maintaining a comfortable temperature and a healthy environment in your home. Here’s how.

How Filters Work

Filters, which are usually made of spun fiberglass, clean the air that flows through your heating and cooling system by trapping and holding contaminants like pollen, dust, pet hair, microorganisms, and mold spores—which you would otherwise inhale as air circulates throughout your home.

How Filters Fail

A filter that isn’t changed regularly can become clogged as contaminants accumulate over time. The filter may start to release contaminants back into the system, and back into the air you breathe.

How Your Air Conditioning System Is Affected

A clogged filter puts extra wear and tear on your AC because air flow through the system is hampered and your unit must work harder to reach the temperature you’ve set in your home.

How a Clogged Filter Can Hurt Your Wallet

Because a clogged filter increases the workload on your AC it can lead to costly system maintenance and repairs. Ultimately it can reduce the life of your unit and cause you to have to pay for a replacement.

Also, the Department of Energy warns that running your heating and cooling system with a clogged filter can cause you to use five to 15 percent more energy than if your filter were clean.

So maintaining a clean filter, and thus an efficient heating and cooling system, can go a long way toward keeping your power bills down, since up to half of your monthly bill is comprised of heating and cooling energy use.

How a Clogged Filter Can Harm Your Health

Maintaining the air filter in your heating and cooling system can help keep contaminants from circulating throughout your home, and prevent indoor air quality issues like headaches and eye irritation, and the aggravation of conditions like asthma and allergies.

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