Can I Run AC Without a Filter – 4 Expensive Consequences

Whether you have a central AC system or a wall-mounted mini-split unit, you’ve doubtless asked the question, “Can I run AC without a filter?” As wonderful and necessary as AC units are, the hassle of changing out or cleaning the filters every month or two can be daunting. If you find yourself attempting to run AC without a filter, then this is the article for you. We’ll break down the reasons for replacing the air filter in the first place and explain what happens without it.

Yes, you can run AC without a filter; however, it’s not a good idea to do so over long periods of time. Your unit is meant to run on filtered air, and you won’t want to run it filterless for more than 6-8 hours. The decision to use the appliance without its filter will likely lead to increased electricity bills, poor indoor air quality, and eventually issues with important components such as the compressor.

Read on for more information regarding AC filters. Whether you’re a new homeowner or simply want to know what would happen if you run your unit sans filter, this is the post for you!

can i run ac without a filter

Can you run AC Without A Filter?

Yes, you can. Although an integral part of the air conditioner, the air filter won’t stop the unit from working if you remove it. That, however, doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

Here is why you shouldn’t try it.

What Happens When You Run an Air Conditioner Without a Filter?

A Filter is installed in every air conditioning system to prevent dust from entering both your home and the system. It is essential for keeping your system in good operating condition, increasing its lifespan, and ensuring cleaner air. A number of bad things could happen if you use your air conditioner without an air filter.

Decreased Indoor Air Quality

The primary function of the air filter is to purify the air that passes through the unit. To understand this, you’ll need to know how the AC unit works. The AC pulls in warm air from your house, which then cools before releasing the cool air into your home.

The AC expels the rest of the warm air after cooling to reduce the heat in your house. Now, air entering the AC unit will usually have lots of dust and other impurities. In the absence of a filter, this dirty air recirculates in your house.

That will mess with the indoor air quality considerably.

Reduced Efficiency from the AC Unit

We already know that running the air conditioner without a filter will get dirty air through the AC. The air conditioner has freon-filled copper tubes that are integral in the air-cooling process.

If dirty air runs over these tubes (which are usually wet), dirt will stick on them. The dirt will then coat the blades and condensation, making the air conditioner not work efficiently.

Also, not all of this dirt will stick to the freon tubes. Some of it will escape and travel to the aluminum tubes that are usually uneven. This will then cause issues for the ductwork because of the dampness that it will create.

There will be mold growing on the tubes, thus causing further operational problems for the air conditioner.

Motor and Compressor Problems

In the absence of an air filter, dirt, and other debris will easily get to the compressor and motor and cause them to malfunction. You will have a steeper price to pay than if you just got a new air filter for your AC unit.

Read Also: Air Conditioner Starts Then Stops After Only a Few Seconds – 8 Effective Solutions

Increase in Energy Bills

Is this surprising? While you might think you’re saving yourself a few bucks by skimping on air filters, the consequences of operating an AC without a filter will quickly change that perception. Issues with the compressor and the motor cause the air conditioner to work harder to provide cool air in your home.

You will see an increase in the cost of your bills in the process. It’s better to simply replace that air filter.

As you can see it is a terrible idea to run your AC without a filter. The result of consistently ignoring this is to have a damaged air conditioner in the end.

How Long Can I Run AC Without a Filter?

While it is not a good idea to run your AC without a filter, that doesn’t mean you can’t run it for a short while. We have seen that you can run the AC without the filter, but how long can you do that?

Your AC won’t suddenly malfunction because you ran it without a filter for a short while. Therefore, you can run it for between 6 and 8 hours. That should be enough for a night or two since you don’t need the AC running continuously.

The time might vary with the number of hours you need to get a new filter or get someone to repair it. The critical thing is to remember that you shouldn’t let it keep running for long without the filter. As you might now understand, that could have disastrous consequences.

Read Also: Can You Use a Window Air Conditioner Without a Window – What You Should Know

How to Replace an AC Air Filter

Let’s change the doomsday approach we’ve had so far and tell you what to do when you have a damaged air filter. Replacing the air filter isn’t a complicated process, especially if you follow the below steps.

  • Get the manual for your AC.
  • Open the AC unit at the back to access the filter area. Remove the old filter if you have not removed it before.
  • Replace it with the new filter, then close up the AC.

Some filters are washable. Therefore, after removing them from the AC unit, wash them thoroughly before returning them to the unit. If the replacement process is too challenging for you, ensure you call a professional to help you.

Summary of Can I run AC without a filter

So, can you run AC without a filter? While it is possible to run the AC without a filter, we wouldn’t advise you to do that because of its consequences for the AC unit. If you suspect your filter has an issue or is dirty, replace it as soon as possible.

What AC works better without an air filter?

There is no AC that works better without an air filter. The air filter is a vital part of any air conditioner, which is why it must always be present.

Is running an AC without a filter better than running it with a dirty filter?

Nothing compares to your AC having an air filter. You’re better off running an AC with a dirty filter rather than without one at all.

Will a dirty air filter affect the performance of the AC?

Yes, it will. A dirty filter means some dirt and debris that should be away from the AC gets through. We bet you know what that means for your AC unit.

Should you run your aC without a filter?

In most cases, it’s not a good idea to run your AC without a filter. Overtime it will lead to dirty air and worn out components.

can you run your ac without a filter?

You can run your AC without a filter, but it’s not recommended. Doing so may cause your entire system to break down over time.

Relevant Resources:

  1. How to Seal a Window Air Conditioner for the Winter – 6 Easy Steps
  2. How To Keep Computer Room Cool – 9 Best Hacks With Bonus Tips
  3. Can You Use a Window Air Conditioner Without a Window
  4. Air Conditioner Makes Loud Noise When Starting – Fix It Easily
  5. Air Conditioner Starts Then Stops After Only a Few Seconds – 8 Effective Solutions
  6. Frigidaire Air Conditioner Buttons Not Working – Fix It Now

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