What Happens When Your AC Filter is Dirty?

Learn what happens when your AC filter is dirty and how to prevent it from happening. Find out why it's important to replace your AC filter regularly.

What Happens When Your AC Filter is Dirty?

A dirty air filter can have a significant impact on the performance of your air conditioner. When the filter is clogged, it restricts the flow of cold air, causing it to build up inside the unit and reducing its internal temperature. Over time, this buildup of cold air can cause ice to form on the coils. A clear sign that the air conditioning filter needs to be replaced is when the back of the unit is too hot, and you may even feel hot air coming out of it.

A clogged filter forces the air conditioner to work harder to keep your home cool, leading to more frequent repairs and a shorter lifespan for the unit. To reduce this load, you should change your air conditioning filter regularly. In addition, a dirty filter can cause dirt to build up inside the air conditioner, clogging its parts and damaging it. An overheated air conditioner can be a sign of a clogged air filter.

When turned on, the unit will work harder to keep the room cool, putting more pressure on it and causing it to produce a lot of heat. The fan pushes air through the filter, but if it becomes too clogged with dust, dander, and dirt, it will have to work harder to get air through. This reduced airflow can lead to hot and cold spots in your home and difficulty reaching desired indoor temperature levels. A dirty air conditioning filter will also allow dust, dander and dirt to seep into your home's duct system.

According to a study by the Florida Public Utilities Commission, the second cause of high energy bills in the summer was a clogged air filter. If you're delaying replacing your filter because of cost, it can only be more expensive in the long run. If you have pets, live in an area with poor air quality, smoke, have severe allergies, have carpets or many people living in your house, you should replace your air filter more often. A dirty filter will not allow fresh air to pass through properly, leaving you sitting in a pool of sweat.