Can a Dirty Filter Damage an AC Unit?

A clogged air filter can quickly wear down an air conditioning system, leading to additional breakage and serious maintenance problems. This can negatively affect the durability of the system, and if left unchecked, the indoor unit may not be able to move air sufficiently and the system components can freeze. During the summer, it's important to replace filters every month to keep your air conditioner running efficiently. Not only can dirty air filters prevent an air conditioner from working, but they can also send your home's air conditioning system or boiler to an early grave if not replaced every one to three months.

Replacing the compressor is usually the most costly repair for an air conditioner, so it's important to keep filters clean and well-maintained. When a filter becomes too clogged with dust, dander and debris, the blower has to work harder to get air through the blocked filter. This can restrict airflow and lower the temperature inside the air conditioning unit. If you leave the air filter of an air conditioning unit clogged for too long, you may experience a system-wide failure.

To clean a reusable air filter, remove it from the air conditioning unit and rinse it in a tub or sink with warm water. Shake the filter after washing to drain any excess water that may be trapped in the filter, and then allow it to air dry before returning it to the air conditioning unit. Checking for a dirty air filter is one of the first steps you should take when you notice a problem with your unit. If your air conditioner continues to work, licensed technicians can take a look at your air filter and clean or replace it if necessary.