July 12, 2020

Your heating and air conditioning system can run without an air filter, but its a very bad idea! Without a filter, you leave your unit exposed to all kinds of dust and debris that will impair the AC system and lead to costly repairs.

During summer, if the dust particles block your cooling unit’s indoor coil, your system will most likely run incorrectly or insufficiently. The coil itself is moist, so anything that passes through, like dust, gets trapped onto the coil.

It goes without saying, a filter is an ideal preventative measure to help your HVAC unit operate properly and efficiently.

Why Does My AC Unit Need an Air Filter

Below we look at why your HVAC unit needs an air filter.

What is the Role of an Air Filter?

HVAC air filters do the exact job their name suggests. They filter your air.

Basically, air filters help block dust, pollen or any other debris from accumulating on your HVAC’s internal components.

They don’t just keep out typical contaminants. They are also charged with keeping bigger particles out of your AC unit and saving it from possible damage. Dirty, unchanged air filters are the number one cause of problems with your heating and air conditioning unit.

How Often Should I Change My Air Filters?

We recommend checking your HVAC filter every month to assess whether you need to replace it.

Most likely, you’ll be required to change it once every three months. However, there’s no general answer to this question; it all depends on the type of air filter your AC unit requires. Other factors include the environmental conditions inside your house and the season. It stands to reason then that if you’re in a dusty area such as the desert, you will need a better quality air filter to keep out all that dust, and it will need to be changed more frequently.

Does your household have a high occupancy or pets? If either of these holds for your home, you may need to change the air filter more often.

As a rule of thumb, the best way to determine the need to change is simply by checking the air filter on your own. If your filter is awash with dust and pollen grains, then it’s about time you replaced it.

Four Consequences That Can Happen If I Run My AC Without an Air Filter

The air filter’s duty in your HVAC unit is to keep the system clean, especially the evaporator coils, motor and the blower. Here are some possible problems that can occur in your HVAC system if you choose to run the AC with no air filter in place:

1. Ductwork Problems

Any debris and dirt that doesn’t get trapped in the Freon tubes will flow down the pipe to your ductwork. The dirt particles will collect inside the ductwork, getting nabbed by the toothed aluminum tubes. Eventually, moisture builds up inside your ductwork, creating the ideal environment for mold to grow.

Mold spores will begin to spread throughout your household whenever the HVAC system is powered on. This poses a significant health hazard to you and the ones you love.

Running your AC without an air filter

2. Air Quality Issues

The most rampant problem of running an HVAC unit with no air filter is poor indoor air quality. Dirt is agitated whenever your HVAC is operating and continuously stirs throughout the air, without settling.

The dust, dirt and debris are siphoned back up through the intake. Then, the particulate matter is pumped via the air vents and remains suspended in the air until it clogs the HVAC or someone inhales it.

3. Increased Energy Bills

When your HVAC unit has to work extra hard to cool your home, it consumes more energy. If you’ve noticed a sudden surge in your home’s energy bills without a corresponding rise in usage, it might be the air filter.


4. Condensate Drain Issues

Without a filter for your HVAC unit, your condensate drain won’t be able to execute its role of draining moisture and condensation from your system. Condensate builds upon the Freon tubing then trickles down to the pan. With the pan contents draining outside, it helps your heating and cooling unit with dehumidifying the air in your household.

The air filter is an important addition to your HVAC system because it keeps dirt from accumulating in your condensate and blocking it. Otherwise, the particulate may cause water damage to your entire unit.

Here are additional takeaways about your filter:
  • Turn off AC before removing and replacing the filter
  • Set a reminder alert to check your air filter
  • Plastic framed filters can be cleaned and reused
  • You can look up info on your filter online

Professional Air Filtration in Portland and the Surrounding Areas

Preventing these issues and ensuring you enjoy the best indoor air quality is as simple as replacing your filter. Monitoring the state of your air filter is part of our regular tune-up inspection. Schedule your summer cooling tune-up with Climate Control today and forget all your AC woes. Our bonded, insured and highly skilled cooling and heating technicians are committed to providing you with top-notch air filtration services in Portland and beyond. We also offer comprehensive heating and cooling services as well as water heaters and zone control systems.

Boost the lifespan of your HVAC unit, and change your filter today!

Contact Climate Control Today!

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