What Happens When You Run Air Conditioner Without a Filter?

Without a filter, the condensate drain will not be able to drain moisture from the air conditioning unit. This will result in condensation building up in the Freon tube. Condensation will begin to drip down the tray, causing water damage to the entire system. A common problem of using an air conditioner without a filter is that indoor air quality deteriorates.

As dust and dirt penetrate the interior of the air conditioner, these contaminants will recirculate and remain suspended in the air. The most obvious issue with running an air conditioner without a filter is the decrease in indoor air quality. Without a filter in place, these pollutants can travel freely through the ducts and can settle there, which can also have a negative impact on health due to worsening indoor air quality. The purpose of the air filter, along with the compressor motor and evaporator coils, is to prevent air pollutants from entering the air conditioner.

That said, running your air conditioner without a filter for more than 6 to 8 hours can cause serious damage to your air conditioning system and significantly reduce the air quality in your home. According to popular belief, the more you use your air conditioner, the more often you should change the air filter. Operating the air conditioner at any time without an air cleaner is not recommended because of the permanent damage it can cause to the HVAC system. All residential and commercial HVAC systems use a filter to remove impurities that are present in the air, so that they do not return them to indoor spaces and contribute to indoor air pollution.

Depending on the quality of the air and the environment in which the air filter is used, different levels of filtration may be required to optimally protect air conditioners from damage. A clean air filter is essential for keeping the system in good condition, helping it last longer, and helping keep the air cleaner. The longer you leave your air conditioner running without a filter, the more likely you are to have problems with indoor air quality. The air cleaner is the barrier to the return ventilation of the air conditioner (the ventilation that draws air into the system).

Studies have shown that many homes and commercial spaces have air that is more polluted than outdoor environment. One of the signs, when the filter is clogged, is improper distribution of cold air in its vicinity. Without a filter, the system will suck in debris-laden air and return it back into your home or office space, contributing to health problems. Although most residential air filters have a MERV rating of only 1 to 4, these are usually not enough to filter out even small particles. Let's take a look at how an air filter works and what are some of the negative effects of running an AC without one.

Elisa Michocki
Elisa Michocki

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