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Can I Run My Air Conditioner Without an Air Filter?

air-filter-changeThe simple answer to this question is that you can run your AC without a filter, but you don’t want to and you shouldn’t.

We understand why you might wonder if you can do away with using the blower filter for the air conditioner. The filter needs regular maintenance to replace it every one to three months, and if the filter is left in place, it will have a deleterious effect on the air conditioner, leading to the need for AC repair in Conyers, GA or even a full system replacement. We often remind customers of the importance of changing the filter on a regular schedule. 

So why not just go without it? Because this filter does an important job—and you may not realize just how important.

The air filter is not meant to clean the household air

This is a misconception people often have about air conditioner filters. They think the filter is there to help keep dust out of the air. If this is what a homeowner thinks the filter does, they might not have a problem with ditching the filter altogether because they don’t have an issue with dusty indoor air.

But the air filter isn’t there to improve indoor air quality. You need special whole-house air filters installed into the ductwork for that. The air filter on the air conditioner is there for the benefit of the AC: it protects it and other parts inside the HVAC cabinet from dust, lint, dander, and many other particles that attempt to enter with the currents of air pulled through the return air ducts. The filter is usually housed in a slot where the return ducts connect with the blower assembly, stopping them from contaminating the blower motor. 

What can happen when you run the AC without a filter

Taking away the filter basically opens the gates to the city to allow the barbarian horde of dust and dirt in your house to invade the air conditioner and destroy it. Okay, it won’t happen as fast as that analogy implies, but it is one of the quickest ways to ruin an AC. 

Dirt is a major enemy of air conditioners. When it coats moving parts like motors, it increases the strain on them. This will first show up as more expensive air conditioning bills. Eventually, the motors will burn out and need a replacement. 

An even faster problem that will arise is that a layer of grime will build up on the AC’s evaporator coil. Any layer of dust and dirt on the coil will restrict it from absorbing enough heat to warm up the cold refrigerant inside. This leads to the coil starting to freeze over, and that will further reduce the AC’s ability to cool the air until eventually, it won’t provide any cooling at all. 

Make the filter your partner and not an obstacle

Your AC needs the air filter to work well, and it needs a clean filter. If you get into the habit of changing the filter every one to three months (the stronger the filter, the less often the change), it will only help your AC and not harm it. 

At Snellville Heating, Air and Plumbing, Your Comfort Is OUR Business. Call us when you need AC repairs.

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