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What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Air Conditioner’s Filter?

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound
August 10, 2023
What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Air Conditioner’s Filter?
what happens if you don't change air conditioner filter

Air filters play a crucial role in your air conditioner’s performance, longevity, and even your home’s indoor air quality. Although most AC units require a fresh air filter every month or so, many people forget to change them and don’t understand their importance.

So, what happens if you don’t change your air conditioner filter? Quality Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing put together a few problems that can occur if you don’t keep up with your air filter’s change schedule.

Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is your trusted AC repair company in Tulsa, OK. If your air conditioning system breaks down and you need quick and efficient service, contact Quality Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing.

5 Reasons Why You Must Replace Your Air Conditioner’s Filter

The air filter is one of the most essential yet often underappreciated parts of your air conditioner. It prevents dust, dirt, debris, and other contaminants from polluting your conditioned air, ensuring your home has clean, healthy indoor air throughout the year. Fresh air filters also help your unit operate at its highest efficiency level, allowing your family to beat the heat once Tulsa’s warm summer weather takes hold. 

However, failing to replace your air conditioner’s filter regularly can jeopardize your unit, leaving it vulnerable to everything from excessive wear and tear to reduced airflow. Continue on to learn what happens if you don’t change your air conditioner’s filter.

1. More Frequent Repairs

Dirty air filters can restrict airflow and put tremendous stress on the air conditioner. The additional, unnecessary stress leaves your AC unit more prone to malfunctions and can even cause it to break down on excessively hot days. Without a functioning air conditioner, you can’t keep your home cool, making it nearly unbearable to occupy.

Regularly replacing your air filter will help your unit stay in tip-top shape while potentially increasing its performance. It can prevent you from spending a small fortune on repairs that could have otherwise been avoided with a fresh filter. 

2. Higher Energy Bills

Your air conditioner is one of the biggest determining factors in your monthly energy costs. While fresh air filters can improve airflow and reduce unit stress, dirty or clogged air filters have the opposite effect, causing your system to work harder to adequately cool your residence. This can skyrocket your energy bills, forcing you to pay more money for substandard cooling.

Replacing your air filter will diminish your HVAC system’s energy demands while enhancing its overall performance. It’s one of the best ways to keep your payments affordable without sacrificing your home’s interior comfort.

3. Reduced Indoor Air Quality

Your air conditioner’s filter acts as the last and only line of defense against airborne pollutants. It prevents dust and debris from tainting your home’s indoor air, ensuring your family breathes clean air wherever they are at home. That said, dirty air filters can’t safeguard your home’s indoor air from contaminants and can drastically reduce your indoor air quality.

Changing the air filter will restore your unit’s filtration abilities, preventing dust, pollen, and more from polluting your home’s indoor air quality. Clean indoor air can also decrease allergy symptom severity while preventing several other potential health issues.

4. Increased Wear and Tear

Every air conditioner experiences wear and tear over time. However, dirty air filters can increase the amount of wear and tear affecting your system, causing it to break down sooner rather than later. The longer you wait to replace the air filter, the worse the wear and tear becomes, drastically decreasing your unit’s life expectancy. In fact, a dirty air filter can reduce your unit’s lifespan by five to 10 years!

Although you could repair or replace the worn mechanisms inside your air conditioner, it’s much more costly than changing your air filter once a month (depending on your AC unit’s recommended filter schedule). Routinely changing your air conditioning system’s air filter will help you elongate your unit’s lifespan while saving you hundreds on unit repairs later on.

5. Poor Air Distribution

Since dirty air filters restrict airflow, they can prevent your air conditioner and ductwork from distributing comfortable air evenly throughout your home. This makes it difficult to maintain your desired interior climate, making it feel hotter during the summer and colder during the winter. Replacing the filter will substantially improve airflow, allowing your air conditioner to disseminate cool air throughout your residence.

It’s important to note that sometimes dirty air ducts can cause poor temperature regulation as well. If you still experience uneven room temperatures or inadequate cooling after changing the air filter, clean your air ducts and see if it resolves the issue.

How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

Most residential air conditioners need a new air filter every 30 to 60 days. However, there are a few factors that can alter the schedule. 

For example, a single-occupant home without pets typically won’t have to change its air filter as much as a large-family home with multiple pets. Below are a few situations that can extend or shorten an air filter’s replacement frequency and the recommended schedule:

  • An average family home without pets: 90 days
  • An average family home with one pet: 60 days
  • An average family home with several pets and/or occupants that suffer allergies: 20 to 45 days
  • A single-occupant home with no pets or a vacation home: Six to 12 months

Always read your HVAC’s owner’s manual and talk to a professional technician to learn your air conditioner’s air filter replacement schedule.

Contact Quality Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing for Exceptional HVAC Services in Tulsa, OK

Next time your air conditioner needs a new filter, and you wonder, “What happens if you don’t change an air conditioner’s filter?” contact Quality Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing. Our team will assess your unit and determine its filter replacement requirements to ensure optimal air conditioner airflow and performance. Give Quality Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing a call at (918) 276-7151 and see what our technicians can do for you today!

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound

Cassie Pound is the Vice President of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric with locations in Tulsa, Glenpool, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.