Does a Dirty Air Filter Affect Air Conditioner?

Many people don’t think about their air filters until it’s time to replace them. But did you know that a dirty air filter can cause severe problems for your AC unit? In this blog post, we’ll look at 7 of the most common problems caused by a dirty air filter and what you can do to prevent them.

7 Problems Caused by a Dirty Air Filter

1. Reduced airflow

Reduced airflow is one of the most common problems caused by a dirty air filter. When your air filter is clogged, it restricts the airflow to your AC unit, leading to many problems. Not only will your AC unit work harder to cool your home, but it will also be less efficient, increasing your energy bills.

2. Frozen coils

Another problem that can be caused by reduced airflow is frozen coils. The coils in your AC unit are responsible for absorbing heat from your home. If they get too cold, they can start to ice over, reducing their ability to absorb heat and eventually damaging the coils.

3. Short cycling

Short cycling is when your AC unit turns on and off more frequently than usual. Several things can cause this, but one of the most common causes is dirty air filters. When your filter is clogged, it can cause your AC unit to turn on and off more frequently to compensate for the restricted airflow. This not only causes your AC unit to work harder but also wears it out faster, eventually leading to a breakdown. Learn more here.

4. Poor indoor air quality

Another problem that dirty air filters can cause is poor indoor air quality. Your air conditioner recirculates the same air over and over again throughout your home. If that air is full of dust and pollen, it can cause allergies or other respiratory problems for people in your home who are sensitive to those things. Additionally, if you have pets, their dander can also build up in your air filter and cause problems for people with allergies or asthma.

5. Higher energy bills

One of the most common complaints we hear from customers is that their energy bills have gone up even though they haven’t changed their usage habits. In many cases, this can be attributed to a dirty air filter because it causes your AC unit to work harder and use more energy than usual.

6. Bad Odors

In addition to reduced airflow and warm air, a dirty air filter can also cause bad odors to come from your vents. This is because the dirt and dust that’s trapped in the filter can start to decompose, causing an unpleasant smell to circulate through your home whenever you turn on your AC 

7. Excess dust around the house

Not only is bad airflow one of the consequences of having a dirty air filter, but you might also start to notice an excess of dust around your house. This happens because the dirt and dust that your AC would typically filter out are now circulating through your home, settling on surfaces and aggravating allergies 

How to Maintain your Air Filter in your Air Conditioner

Maintaining your air filter is essential to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. Not only does it help keep your home cool, but it also helps keep your air clean. Here are some tips on how to maintain your air filter:

The first thing you should do is check the filter regularly. Depending on your filter type, you should check it every one to four months. If the filter is clogged or dirty, it will not be able to do its job correctly.

Next, you should make sure the filter is the right size. If the filter is too small, it will not be able to trap all the dirt and dust. If the filter is too large, it will not fit in the housing unit and will not be effective.

Finally, it would help if you made sure the filter was clean. If it is covered in dirt and dust, it will be unable to do its job correctly. Cleaning the filter can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s worth it for the improved performance of your air conditioner. You can also schedule an AC service to help you out.


As you can see, there are lots of problems that a dirty air filter can cause. That’s why it’s so important to check and replace your filter every month – or as needed – to keep your AC unit running smoothly and efficiently. If you’re having any trouble with your AC unit, give us a call – we’re always happy to help!

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