Wet AC Filter: Should You be Concerned?

Have a wet AC filter? Understand whether it's a cause for concern. Trust Sandium for expert advice on AC filters and air conditioning system maintenance. Contact us!

Updated on Oct 22, 2023
5 min read
Wet AC Filter: Should You be Concerned?

Air filters are not meant to get wet. There are not many things that can get them wet in the first place. However, you should not take damp air filters lightly. These are a few things that can go wrong because of wet filters in your Northern California home or business.

Reduction in AC Power

Air filters work like the air conditioner’s nose. It pulls in air while collecting nasty particles that may damage the unit. You need to change the filter to keep things inside the unit clean and efficient. The unit finds it more difficult to ‘breathe’ when the air filter is clogged with moisture. Its power is reduced since only a limited amount of air can cycle through the system.

You can compare it with running around when you have a stuffy nose. You will get out of breath faster. Your system won't be able to cycle enough air if its hot outside. You will need to turn down the temperature to be comfortable, which will increase electricity consumption.

Puts Massive Pressure on the System

Wet air filters can easily break your AC system. The unit will need to run longer and work harder at getting the desired temperatures. This will place a massive strain on the system. Your AC will keep going until something breaks down. This is usually in the form of massive repairs.

Short cycling is another problem caused by air filters that are wet or damp. Your system will continue cooling unless it senses that the indoor air temperature is as per the thermostat. However, with a wet air filter, it won't realize the air is cool. The system will keep turning back the compressor on. This can be annoying to your ears and be very bad for the air conditioning system.

Air conditioners involve a lot of moving parts and power for kicking back up because of the interconnected network of electricity, air, and refrigerant. Eventually, something will break when it keeps coming back on too often and frequently. This will place additional wear and tear on the system.

Create a System Freeze

Another major problem as a result of wet air filter is a system freeze. The air inside the unit has to move for the cooling unit to do something. When the air is damp, it cannot move quickly enough. This can result in frozen drainage pipe or freon.

The effect will get compounded by the reason making your air filters wet – condensation in the evaporator coils. This condensation can quickly get into places where it freezes and expands. The pipes may end up bursting and spraying freon and water everywhere.

Wet Air Filter Results in Mold Growth

Mold is slimy, smelly, gross, and dangerous. Wet air filter can promote mold growth inside the unit. The spores will quickly take off and spread to the rest of your house through the ductwork. Mold is not something that is immediately dangerous. However, it can start causing respiratory symptoms, allergies and permanent brain and lung damage if you let it fester.

Air filters when wet create the perfect environment for mold to grow. Mold is a type of resilient fungus that can grow quickly. You should replace the air filter and replying the underlying reason for the dampness to prevent this from occurring.

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