Do Air Conditioners Have Filters?

For central air conditioners, filters are usually located along the length of the return duct. Common filter spots are on walls, ceilings, or inside the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted on the grill that faces the room. Yes, central air conditioners have a filter. In fact, most central air conditioning systems have two or more filters.

These filters clean the air and guarantee good air quality as the unit circulates between indoor and outdoor air. All central heating and cooling systems must have an air filter, but it may be more difficult to locate in some HVAC units than in others. Generally, the air cleaner is close to your home thermostat, in a return duct or right next to the air handler for your air conditioning system. Although it is possible for your air conditioning system to operate without a filter, you should never attempt to do so. We understand that you may not always have a new replacement filter on hand when you want to replace your current one, but it's best to wait until you have a replacement filter.

Running the air conditioner without a filter is worse than running it with a dirty one. Instead, go to the store as soon as possible for a replacement or call an HVAC professional to have it replaced. Without a filter, your air conditioner is at risk of serious and costly problems. Follow our advice and never run your system without one. A clear sign that the AC filter needs to be replaced is when the back of the unit is too hot.

If the filter is heavily soiled, you may feel warm air coming out the back of the unit. A clogged filter forces the air conditioner to work harder to keep the house cool, leading to more frequent repairs and ultimately shortening the life of the unit. Reduce this load by changing the AC filter regularly. If you're trying to understand your system better, you might be wondering if your oven filter and AC filter are the same. Find out if there is a difference between your air conditioner and oven filter and why filters are so important for your HVAC system.

Depending on the type of filter you have, six months is the longest you should go without replacing or cleaning it.

Ericka Lampp
Ericka Lampp

Friendly pop culture specialist. Infuriatingly humble zombie aficionado. Subtly charming internetaholic. Unapologetic coffee guru. Hipster-friendly zombie lover. General coffee buff.

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