Does an AC Filter Air?

does ac filter air spokane wa

Having cool and comfortable air flowing through your home during the summer is an important part of home comfort; that fact is well-known. But for many homeowners, clean air is just as vital as having cool air running through their homes. And with the pandemic still being a potential risk, several homeowners across Spokane find themselves asking, “Does an AC filter air?”

Asthma and other respiratory illnesses can still get aggravated by dusty air. It’s only natural that people want to be at ease in their own homes, after all. So, to help provide an answer to whether an AC can filter the air it blows out and any other question you might have, we’ve put together this guide. 

If you want to invest in a new AC, need to schedule a maintenance appointment, or want a professional’s opinion on your HVAC equipment, just contact our Hurliman Heating & Air Conditioning team.

How Air Conditioners Work

Since the system is designed specifically to cool down a home, how it functions varies quite a lot from your furnace or any other HVAC system in your home. One key difference that can also help answer “does ac filter air” is how your AC cools the air. 

Many ACs and other cooling systems contain a liquid called refrigerant in it, containing an entire line of piping to aid in the cooling process. When the AC turns on, any hot air that’s in your home gets pulled in and blown over the indoor evaporator unit’s refrigerant coils. The heat from the air gets absorbed into the refrigerant, leaving it cool enough to be released back into the home. 

In its separate lines, the now-heated refrigerant gets compressed before moving to the condenser unit outside. A fan in the unit pulls outside air into the condenser, through which the refrigerant releases its heat. The hot air is then blown back out, and the refrigerant gets pushed back into the evaporator to repeat the cooling process. 

Does My Air Conditioner Purify Air in My Home?

Since the process of how an air conditioner works reveals the fact that the cool air that’s released isn’t outside air, many homeowners might find that the answer to “Does air conditioning improve air quality” is yes. While the answer is correct, the reason behind it is far more complex. 

Though the air that’s blown back into your home is much cleaner than the outside air, it’s not solely because your home’s air is completely clean. Dust, bacteria, and allergens can still find their way into your home, whether that’s from opening a window or some other method. Dust and bacteria are incredibly common in your vents, but your AC can clean the air.

While it doesn’t purify the air as you might expect, part of your air conditioner system includes an air filter. As the name suggests, the air filter is responsible for getting rid of all the dust and bacteria that might be in the air. This helps improve the air conditioning quality, even if said air is the same throughout the day.

The Importance of Using an Air Filter

In addition to keeping the air blowing out of your AC clean, the air filter is also a key part of ensuring that the system’s individual parts stay as clean as possible. Though the filter primarily works in one direction, air can still pass through the other way. Without the air filter in place – or a dirty one, if you don’t clean it regularly – many problems can start to damage your home and AC.

Naturally, a lack of an effective air filter can cause a drop in your home’s air quality. The air filter is the main reason that the answer to “Does an AC filter air” is yes. The simple air intake into the air conditioner stirs any dirt in the system up, which clings to the parts and gets blown into your home. A bad air filter negates the one part that cleans your air.

There are many other reasons to keep a clean air filter in your AC system, but this is the most important in ensuring home air cleanliness.

When Should I Replace My Air Filter?

With the key importance of an air filter and how it relates to the answer to “Do air conditioners clean the air” explained, you’ll also need one more key piece of knowledge to ensure clean air in your home. A dirty air filter can be just as bad as no air filter since it can’t trap any more dirt. So, regularly replacing the air filter is a key step.

But how can you tell when it’s time to replace the filter? Ultimately, the time range depends on your AC and the filter it needs. Though the type of air filter can impact the range, the key difference is pleated vs. non-pleated filters. Thicker, pleated filters need to be replaced every 4 months, while a non-pleated filter should be replaced every month. 

Take into consideration what thickness and type your air filter is before replacing it with an identical one.


With a clean air filter, the answer to whether or not your AC can filter air is a strong yes. Though the system doesn’t do so itself, the simple function of pushing air through the filter is more than enough. 

Clean air, as a result, relies on a clean air filter, and regular replacements help improve air quality and AC efficiency. If you need help replacing it or have another problem, contact us at Hurliman Heating & Air Conditioning.

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