It's always a risk to run your air conditioner without a filter for any amount of time. That said, a day or two of unfiltered operation may cause no damage, depending on the current air quality and environment. However, running your air conditioner without a filter for more than 6 to 8 hours can cause serious damage to your air conditioning system and significantly reduce the air quality in your home. Let's take a look at how an air filter works and the negative effects of running your air conditioning system without one.
The longest time you need to go without changing the air filter is the recommended time of 90 days. But if replacing the air filter simply isn't possible for an extended period, going beyond 90 days won't cause irreparable damage to your HVAC system. However, it will put unwanted pressure on your system, resulting in poor air quality and air circulation. The short answer is yes, your HVAC system can operate without a filter.
However, just because you can doesn't mean you should. Running your HVAC unit without a filter is probably OK for a short period of time, but continuing to do so for more than six hours is already delaying it. Unless you want your system to blow dirty air into your home or office and also risk damaging the unit, it is not advisable to run the system without a filter. When considering this risk, some environmental factors must be taken into account that can change the amount of time the system can remain undamaged.
Although the answer to this question is yes, your air conditioning system will continue to work without a filter, you should never try 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 risks serious and costly problems.
Follow our advice and never run your system without one. Common problems with air conditioning include increased electricity bills, air conditioning doesn't cool the house well, or even doesn't cool the house at all. Evaporator coils contain a substance called refrigerant, which absorbs heat from indoor air so that the air conditioning system can return cool air to your home or office. The primary purpose of an air filter is to clean the air circulating through the air conditioning system. Air filters are usually made of spun fiberglass (the same as attic insulation) or & pleated paper framed with cardboard for added stability and rigidity.
The broader purpose of an air cleaner is to clean the air in your home and keep your HVAC system free of dust and dirt. Research has shown that many homes and commercial spaces have air that is more polluted than air from the outside environment. Because air filters typically trap dirt, dust, hair, and other contaminants, running your air conditioner without a filter will cause debris to recirculate throughout your home. This is perhaps a little more obvious, but without the air filter to filter the dust, your AC will now be throwing dust all over your house. Now that you understand the different types of damage that can occur, I hope you see the importance of proper use of an air filter. Additional dirt and debris that passes into the AC system due to the lack of an air filter can reach the condensate drain (where it's not supposed to be) and clog the drain.
Dirt is the leading cause of breakdown of ACs, so operating your unit without an air filter installed can cause serious damage. You can hear it: Your HVAC technician is giving you lessons on how to make sure you change your AC filter every 3 months or 90 days. But what happens if you let that time go by a little? Before we talk about WHEN the filter should be changed, let's start with the WHY. 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. Unless you want your system to blow dirty air into your home or office and also risk damaging it, it is not advisable to run it without a filter. Follow our advice and never run your AC without one. Running your HVAC unit without an air filter is probably OK for a short period of time, but continuing to do so for more than six hours is already delaying it.