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So you know you’re supposed to change your air filter regularly, generally every three months or even more frequently. But, life happens and often changing filters is something that we store in the back of our minds as we think about day-to-day life—work, kids and our social lives—and we might just forget.

So what’s the danger in this? How will forgetting to change your air filter affect you, your family and anyone else who enters your home?

  • You’ll experience a poorer quality of air in your home.

Air filters & AC filters works to trap harmful particles like mold, pet dander and bacteria that would otherwise pollute the air in your home. If a filter isn’t changed in due time, it will simply run out of room to collect more of these contaminants.

For Example: When you spill something, you grab a paper towel to clean the spill. After the first paper towel becomes too saturated to absorb anymore, so you throw it away and grab and second one to continue cleaning up the spill. That second paper towel is necessary to keeping your home clean in the same way a new filter does.

  • Your HVAC system will work less efficiently, or not at all.

When you forget to change your air filter, contaminants like pollen and dust clog the filter and keep it from doing its job; cleaning the air that circulates throughout your home. Preventing your filter from doing the work it was designed to do, not only keeps your HVAC system from doing the same, but also may harm the system. This adds up to indoor air pollution which very harmful.

Your HVAC system is powered by a fan motor that will have to work harder and harder to push air through a clogged filter. This additional pressure may cause the fan motor to overheat or even break entirely. Replacing a broken HVAC system will cost you, but so will letting an HVAC system run with a dirty filter. More work for the fan motor translates to higher charges on your electric bill. Additionally, a dirty evaporative (cooling) coil can dramatically reduce your air conditioners performance.

  • You’ll inadvertently make your home dirtier.

If your air filter becomes too clogged, all the dust and dirt particles won’t be trapped and will simply circulate throughout your home. This means dirt will collect quickly on surfaces within your house. Chances are, if you notice you’re dusting more frequently, it’s time to change your filter. No one wants to live in a dirty home, and cleaning more is certainly a pain. It’s important to remember that the worst part of having more dirt in your home comes from breathing in that dirt. Failing to change your filter means living in an environment that will negatively affect your family’s health, especially if they have allergies, weak immune systems or other medical conditions.

Failing to change your filter can be negative for the environment as a whole. Remember, how clogged filters make your HVAC system work harder? As they expend more energy, your carbon footprint increases. Though changing your air filter may be an easy task to forget, it’s one that is important for your family’s health. You want to make sure the air they breathe is clean, especially if they suffer from allergies or conditions like asthma.

If you need help remembering to change your air filter, try setting an alarm on your phone or marking your digital or paper calendar. Or you might align changing your filter with other important events on your calendar. Find one chore that you do every 3 months or more frequently depending on your needs, and plan to change your filter at the same time. If you’re noticing more dust in your home or having more trouble with allergies than usual, you can take the hint that perhaps it’s time.

When in doubt, just take your air filter out and see how dirty it looks. Changing your filter may be hard to remember, but the good news is, it’s a quick and easy way to improve your quality of life.