Can a Dirty Air Conditioner Filter Make You Sick?

An air conditioner filter aids in the removal of dirty contaminants from the air such as pet dander, dust, and bacteria.

They enhance the air quality in your house by capturing pollutants that have an impact on both your comfort and health.

If an dirty air conditioner filter isn’t cleaned in a timely manner, it could make you feel sick.

Allergies and recurring sinus infections are indications that you should clean the filter in your air conditioner.

Make sure your air conditioner filter is functional and clean as a homeowner.

Ask experts for assistance if you are unsure how to conduct the inspections.

Signs Your Dirty Air Conditioner Filter Is Making You Sick:

While the issues your AC filter might cause are typically not lethal, they can nevertheless exist and are frequently disregarded. Here are a few things to be wary of:

Difficulties with Breathing or Respiratory Problems:

Difficulties with Breathing or Respiratory Problems

Once your air conditioner filter is unclean, it serves as a haven for germs and fungi to grow. The mould then starts to grow as a result of this.

This occurs as a result of moisture accumulation in your home’s ductwork. Breathing difficulties originate from fungus and bacteria that become airborne.

You’re more likely to acquire a respiratory infection if you live next to a mouldy air conditioner.

Wheezing, congestion, and throat inflammation are brought on by mould. If you experience any of these indicators, check your air conditioner for mould.

By maintaining a clean air conditioner and changing the filters every few months, you can avoid respiratory illnesses and breathing issues.

Take the following actions to repair a mouldy air conditioner:

Take the following actions to repair a mouldy air conditioner
  • Prepare a water and bleach solution. You can raise the concentration if you think it’s essential, but I suggest mixing bleach and water in a ratio of two parts water to one part.
  • Always wear safety gloves when you scrub the mouldy areas with the solution. You might need to change the filter if the mould has gotten into it completely.

Fatigue and Headaches:

Fatigue and Headaches

Make sure your air conditioner is inspected if you spend your days indoors but still feel exhausted and ill at the end of them.

Headaches and general weariness might be brought on by a dirty air conditioner.

Obtain a professional inspection, and if necessary, have the AC cleaned and the filters changed.

To avoid these issues, have your air conditioner’s filters changed and cleaned periodically.

This will maintain the healthiest environment possible in your home.

Why Do Your Air Conditioner’s Filters Get Dirty So Quickly?

Do you frequently need to change the filters on your air conditioner? If yes, continue reading to learn some of the causes of their frequent soiling.

Different Filters Accumulate Different Amounts of Dirt:

Different Filters Accumulate Different Amounts of Dirt

You can be utilising a one-inch pleated filter, which could be one of the main reasons for your filter problems. These filters have a finer mesh than alternatives without pleats.

They consequently collect a lot more dust and debris.

Even though this isn’t always a bad thing, many people are unaware that pleated filters must be changed much more frequently, causing them to become dirty as they filter the air.

You can always purchase a disposable fibreglass filter to prevent this. Choosing a filter with bigger pleats is another option.

A fan might be the problem:

A fan might be the problem

The filters will clog up much more quickly if the fan on your air conditioner is constantly running.

The fan itself is not a major issue, but it must be carefully managed, much like the filter.

The fan is designed to guide airflow, and a regrettable by-product of this is that it blows dirt over the filters.

Therefore, it’s crucial to control your fans. If possible, try turning it off while you’re not using it.

While it won’t entirely get rid of any dirt, this will slow down how quickly it accumulates on your filter. Additionally, it will lower your energy costs.



If you have a pet, be aware that they can be helping to cause your filter issue.

The hair from your pet may occasionally enter the air, where it will eventually find its way into the filter of your air conditioner.

Having your pet’s hair combed and cleaned on a regular basis will help you limit the quantity of sick hair that ends up in your dirty air conditioner filter.



 As a homeowner, you should be aware that soot can be a serious problem if you enjoy burning candles.

Candles burn carbon, which produces soot as a by-product.

When burning wood, a fireplace can occasionally make a sizable contribution to the soot in your house.

Always trim the candle wicks to lessen the amount of soot in the house.

By doing this, you can lessen the size of the flame and the amount of soot that is produced quickly.

It’s not a miracle solution, though, as if it burns all the way through, it will still emit the same amount of soot.

How to Clean the Filter in Your Dirty Air Conditioner?

Can a Dirty Air Conditioner Filter Make You Sick

There are a few things you should always keep in mind before we discuss how to clean your air conditioner:

  • You might need specialised tools to finish the cleaning.
  • The cleanup will take some time. To do the task properly, you should allot around an hour.
  • To prevent injuring other components of the air conditioner, use caution when cleaning.
  • Having some of these suggestions in mind will make the task much simpler.
AC filter vacuuming:

Cleaning your AC filter with a vacuum is the first step.

Use the vacuum nozzle to gently blow particles out of the filter for this stage.

For this step, be sure to use a vacuum attachment without a brush to prevent the filter from being harmed.

AC filter soak:

If using a vacuum alone is ineffective, you’ll need to wet the filter to make the dirt more brittle and encourage it to fall out.

Simple measures can be taken to do this:

  • Combine a huge bucket of water and liquid soap.
  • Placing the filter in the mixture and moving it back and forth several times can help you get rid of as much garbage as possible.
  • Give the filter at least 15 minutes to soak. This allows the mixture to soften and clean the filter’s dirt.

Spray the AC Filter Utilizing a Vinegar and Water Solution:

Make a solution by combining vinegar and water in equal amounts to get rid of bacteria in your filter.

Put it in a spray bottle and use it to apply and cover with filtration.

The drain pipe of your air conditioner may very easily become clogged with mould and germs, so vinegar is wonderful for it as well.

You can alternatively soak the filter, using the same instructions as for soap and water but using a vinegar solution instead.

Dry the AC Filter After Cleaning.

Make careful to fully dry your filters before changing them.

They can simply be left outside to dry out of the heat of the sun.

Filters are often lightweight, so putting them in front of a fan can also work if you’re concerned about rain.

Also read: How To Reduce Dust in Your Home?

FAQ- Can a Dirty Air Conditioner Filter Make You Sick:

Q1. What happens if your apartment’s air filter isn’t changed?

Your HVAC system needs to work harder because of the reduced airflow caused by a filthy filter.
You spend more money because it consumes more energy.
Additionally, it might be unable to keep your home at the ideal temperature.
This puts more burden on the system because it might need to run for longer periods of time.

Q2. How long is it safe to use an air filter that hasn’t been changed?

Most HVAC companies and air filter producers recommend changing your air filter every 90 days, or three months.

Q3. What occurs if I operate my air conditioner without a filter?

Your AC unit’s condensation drain won’t be able to remove the moisture if it doesn’t have a filter.
Condensation will build up on the Freon tube as a result.
The entire system will then sustain water damage when the moisture begins to leak down the pan.

Also read: How To Clean Dyson Vacuum Head?


Your AC filters should be cleaned frequently.

They gather a lot of dust and mould over time, which might result in minor ailments.

Periodic maintenance is necessary because problematic filters have the potential to make already existing health issues worse.

The good news is that cleaning an AC filter usually involves only a few common household items.

Hello & welcome to Homeprettify! I'm Pooja and I have a passion for all things design, decor, and renovation. I am a serial renovator, currently working as Civil Engineer. Look around, leave a comment, and don't forget to subscribe to my emails so you don't miss out!

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