Dirty filters restrict the flow of cold air, which can cause it to build up inside the air conditioner. The end result could be ice formation on the coils. A clogged air filter restricts airflow in the air conditioning system. When this occurs, air is prevented from entering and leaving the system, reducing the internal temperature of the unit.
This will affect the ability of the air conditioning system to generate heat and will result in ice formation on the evaporator coils. Frozen evaporator coils can cause leaks or damage other parts of the unit. If you leave the filter on for too long, it may become so clogged that the filter is absorbed by the HVAC system. Not only will the air not filter properly, but it can also pose a fire hazard to the ventilation.
When I researched this myself, all I found were scary articles about something called an “air conditioning lung”. It's a very rare and serious immune reaction to small particles in the air, but according to Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a pulmonologist at USC's Keck School of Medicine, it's not the only problem caused by a dirty air conditioner. When you don't maintain your air conditioner, it picks up high concentrations of dust, pollen and mold.
At best, this could exacerbate allergies and asthma. In the worst case, it can lead to infections. A clogged air filter makes it difficult for the unit to function properly. The amount of strain caused by a dirty filter means that the motors in your systems are working longer than they were designed to work.
This results in much higher than normal utility bills. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, a clogged filter can cause a 15% increase in energy consumption. As mentioned above, routine cleaning and replacement of your air conditioner's air filter is a critical responsibility if you want your air conditioner to operate efficiently. If you neglected to change the AC filter for some time, there is a good chance that a lot of dust will accumulate inside the ducts.
Failure to clean or change the air conditioner filter can cause a lot of problems, but many people don't incorporate it into their regular routine. Sliding a wet filter back into the air conditioner only requires icing and other problems, and trying to dry the filter is likely to damage its delicate surface. When your air conditioner's air filter is clogged or full of dust, you can increase energy consumption by up to 15%. If you've never changed your air conditioning filter, the easiest way is to have an HVAC technician do it the first time.
When you change your air conditioning filter every month during peak cooling season, you can save about 15% each month on utilities, as well as avoid repair problems due to airflow restrictions.