Can A Dirty Filter Stop My AC From Running?

There is nothing more frustrating then waking up in the morning on a day that you KNOW is going to be a scorcher. Here in Kansas City there are days in July where I wake up at six in the morning and it is already eighty degrees outside. That is never a good sign and you just know that it’s only going to get hotter. It can be downright miserable. Now, take that same morning and add the factor of a broken air conditioner. The temperature of your home is already creeping upwards and you need to get your air conditioning working now!

Chances are folks, that unless you are an expert, there isn’t going to be much that you can do. An air conditioning system can be quite complex, especially if you don’t have much experience in dealing with them. The good news here though is that there is something that you can do. If your AC is no longer working, or it’s performance has lessened substantially, then one of the first things that you should do is check the air conditioning filter. How long as it been since you changed your filter? If it has been quite a while then a dirty filter may very well be the culprit. If you’re not sure on where to find your AC filter, please read our short explanation on where to find them.

With a dirty or clogged filter you could see diminished capacity of air coming through your vents due to poor air flow. Along with air flow issues you could also see dust accumulating on the evaporator coils which can lead to poor performance of the evaporator itself. (The evaporator absorbs the heat from your home.) In some extreme cases you could even see your air conditioner freeze over. (Ice all over the outside or inside unit and on the refrigerant lines.)

If you’re lucky then you may be able to solve the problem you are having by simply changing or cleaning your filter. You may also use a vacuum in the surrounding area once you have pulled the old filter out. The vacuum will aid in sucking up all of the errant dust and debris that the old filter may have left behind. Once you have the new filter inserted then turn off your air conditioner. Check to see if there is any ice either in your indoor unit, the outside unit, or on the refrigerant lines connecting the two. If there is not then go ahead and start the system up again. If there IS ice then you will need to let the system thaw the ice out before you can start it up again.

If after doing this you are still having trouble with your air conditioner then it’s time to call the professionals. There is most likely something else wrong.


As I stated earlier, your air conditioner and your furnace are some of the most expensive appliances in your home. It only makes sense to take care of them and to ensure that they last as long as they can. In today’s world a new AC and furnace could cost anywhere between six to twelve-thousand dollars.

By ensuring that your air conditioner filter is taken care of every few months you not only protect your system and investment but it also provides you clean air throughout your home. If you aren’t already, please take the time to clean or replace air filters not only for your health but also for your wallet!