Can You Run an AC Without an Air Filter?

Problems of Running an Air Conditioner When There is No Filter

Running AC without Filter like these can damage your home’s air conditioning system.

Let’s get right to the point. It is not okay to run your air conditioner without an air filter. Not even a little bit.

While it may not seem it, an air filter is one of the most important parts of your home’s entire heating and cooling system. And that is what makes it the most vital task for homeowners to change out on a regular basis.

Now if you’re wondering if your air conditioner can still actually run without a filter, then yes. That is possible. But it is a very bad idea. We will explain how running your system without an air filter puts your home’s cooling units at risk of breaking down and other problems.

Common Avoidable AC Problems

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Frederick Plumbing, Heating & Air has the team of AC repair experts here in Wichita, KS. Our experienced HVAC technicians are trained to service any type of cooling system. Sometimes our team will be called out to an air conditioning repair job to find the problem was avoidable.

A dirty air filter can be the cause of a lot of different problems for a furnace or AC system. If the homeowner had simply replaced their dirty one when it was needed, the breakdown probably would not have happened.

Problems Caused by Not Having a Clean Air Filter


When there isn’t a filter (or a clean enough one) filtering out dirt, that debris can make its way into your ducts. This can increase the amount of moisture that is in your ducts which is the perfect environment for mold. Mold growth in your ductwork can be a nuisance or even cause real problems for your health.

Condensation Drain

Moisture created by your air conditioner leaves the unit via the condensation drain. Without an air filter, this drain may stop functioning. That can make condensation accumulate which may cause a leak, damaging your entire system.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Your air filter doesn’t just block dust and debris from flowing out your vents. It also filters out tiny particles of pollutants. It is remarkable how much stuff gets filtered out from an air filter. Without a filter, there is nothing to stop the dust, dirt, and even tiny pollutants from getting into the air you breathe.

If you have allergies, asthma, or some other type of respiratory issue, this is a problem you will notice. It won’t take long for a system that is running without a properly working filter before you start to feel the effects of those particles floating through your indoor air.

Note: in addition to having clean air filters in your system, there are other devices that can further clean and purify your indoor air. Frederick Plumbing, Heating & Air provides a variety of indoor air cleaning services that can improve how your home and your health feels. Contact us today to learn about our Indoor Air Quality services.

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Other AC Problems

An AC running without a filter (or a clean one), can also lead to:

  • Higher energy bills
  • Air not getting cooled enough
  • Frozen evaporator coils
  • A damaged compressor

Filters & Broken ACs

Without a filter to stop the dirt and debris from going through your home’s system, the components inside will be affected. Internal parts could become covered in dirt and grime and could stop working completely. This may lead to air conditioning repair calls or even needing your entire HVAC system replaced well before its time.

The price of changing out an air filter is much cheaper than the damage not having one can cause.

What if you don’t have an air filter?

Let’s say you don’t have a clean filter, but it’s the middle of a Kansas heatwave and so you are trying to weigh exactly how bad it would be to run your air conditioner without one. Well, you can probably run an AC without a filter for several hours without serious problems occurring. That should give you well enough time to run to the store, purchase a new filter, and get it installed in your system.

If you find yourself in this situation, you should consider having a professional AC technician come in and give your system a check-up soon after. If any debris accumulated or parts became loose, an AC repair person should be able to address any of those issues, preventing more serious problems or complete AC breakdowns from happening.

Frederick Plumbing, Heating and Air provides complete heating and cooling tune-up service. You can contact us for AC maintenance where we will thoroughly check and clean your system as well as ensure it is operating safely and efficiently.

Frederick Plumbing Heating Air Conditioning Van in Wichita that provides drain cleaning service

Frederick HVAC technicians are qualified to service any type of air conditioner or cooling system. We provide 24/7 service to the Wichita area and surrounding towns with friendly, quality service at a fair price.

Call Fred today at (316) 262-3713!