Troubleshooting Your AC Filter: What to Do When It's Clogged or Damaged

When the hot summer months roll around, air conditioners become an essential part of many households. However, like any other appliance, air conditioners need regular maintenance and care to make sure they stay in top working order. One of the most important components of an AC unit is its filter, which helps keep the air clean by trapping dirt, dust, and other particles. Unfortunately, filters can become clogged or damaged over time, leading to a variety of problems.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Filter

If your air conditioner isn't performing as it should be, one of the first things you should check is your filter. Here are some common signs that your filter may be clogged or damaged:

  • Reduced airflow through vents
  • Higher energy bills
  • Unusual noises coming from the unit
  • Foul odors coming from the unit
  • The unit cycling on and off more frequently than usual.

How to Change Out Your Filter

If you find that your filter is clogged or damaged, it's important that you replace it as soon as possible. Here's how:

  1. Locate the filter compartment on your AC unit - this is usually near the blower motor.
  2. Remove and discard the old filter.
  3. Measure both length and width of the compartment so you can purchase a replacement that fits correctly.
  4. Purchase a new filter that fits into said compartment.
  5. Insert new filter into said compartment.
  6. Securely close compartment door.

Other Potential Causes for Poor Air Conditioner Performance

In addition to a clogged or damaged air filter, there are several other potential causes for poor performance in an air conditioner. These include:

  • Dirty evaporator coils: The evaporator coils in an AC system can get dirty over time, which can lead to reduced airflow and poor cooling performance.
  • Refrigerant leaks: If there are leaks in the refrigerant, then it won't be able to effectively cool your home. This should be repaired as soon as possible.
  • Faulty thermostat: A faulty thermostat can prevent an AC system from turning on or off at appropriate times. If yours isn't working properly then it needs replacing.
  • Blocked ducts: If ducts are blocked then this will reduce airflow and cause poor cooling performance.


Replacing a clogged or damaged AC filter is essential for keeping your system running smoothly. If any of these signs appear then make sure you replace your filters right away! Additionally, there could be other issues causing poor performance, so if replacing the filter doesn't solve it then contact a qualified HVAC technician for help.