Do you know if there is a filter in a central air conditioner or not? Today let’s know about that. 

An air filter plays a huge part in an air cooling system. It does not just protect the aircon system but also protects us from many health issues. Do you know how bad it is to inhale polluted air? We already inhale so many pollutants when we are outside, so we need a safe place to breathe in the fresh air. 

And what is the safest place better than our own home? Aircon systems help us in this matter. It clears the dust and pollutants by trapping them while consuming the present flowing air and then giving us the cool and fresh air back into our home/room.  

I hope this article will help you to know if there is a filter in a central air conditioner or not. So without any further delays, let’s get started.

is there a filter in a central air conditioner

Is There A Filter In A Central Air Conditioner?

If you want to know if is there a filter in a central air conditioner, then here is the answer to your question. Central aircon does have filters. Not just one, some central aircon have more than one air filter.

What Are Central Air Filters? And How Do They Work?

Do you know about the central air filters? How do they look, or how do they work? Because now I am going to tell you about that. So let’s know about these things before going into further conversations.

Central air filters work like all the other aircon filters. When the air cooling system consumes the flowing air from your home or rooms, the air filters trap down the dust or pollens or impurities, or pet danders from that flowing air. 

Then the clean air circulates into the aircon system for the cooling process then comes back as cold air to cool down your room.  

These filters not only help to trap those clouds of dust but also protect the coils and motors from those same bags of dust. 

Now it’s time to know what materials those air filters are made from to trap down the dust. Well, central air filters are made with fibreglass or pleated paper or cloth. They are connected in a rectangular cardboard frame. 

Fibreglass filters come at lower prices than pleated one’s, but they need to be changed sooner than pleated one’s. 

Fibreglass is usually used in older central aircon systems, but the newer central aircon filters are made with thicker pleated filters. 

Read more: Will The Air Conditioner Work Without A Filter?

How Many Filters Does A Central Air Conditioner Have?

It really depends on the size of your home and the number of air filters that a central air cooling system might have in your home. 

Your central air cooling system might have one or more intake vents. But most of the time, the central air cooling system intake vents have two air filters. 

Why Does Your Central Ac Needs Two Air Filters? 

Your central Ac might need more than one air filter if your home includes these things. They are- 

If the size of your home is bigger than a usual house. 

If you have more return ducts in your central aircon system.

If you have a return duct and also an air handler.

If you have more than one central air system and each needs different air filters.

Then you might need more than one air filter on your central air cooling system. 

Where Is The Air Filter On A Central Air Conditioner?

Do you know where your central aircon’s air filter is located?

Well, the central aircon comes with different components. And different components have different locations when it comes to their air filter. 

So if you want to know about their locations, you have to read the components manual card to have a better idea about their locations.

For example- 

Indoor component’s location- Your indoor component requires two air filters which are located on the air handler. 

Outdoor component’s location- For outdoor components, the filters might be located along with the return ducts. You can also find the filters on the walls or ceilings or into the component itself.  

Central Air Filter Sizing

Just like any other air filter, you have to buy the correct size of air filter also for your central air cooling system. Otherwise, it becomes useless to install air filters because those dust or impurities might cross and get into the coils or motors if there are any gaps and if you buy a larger size air filter.   

I know it is very confusing to decide the correct size for your air filter. But there is a solution to every problem you know. You can read the manual or if there is any instruction written somewhere in your previous filter or search in google by giving the manufacturer number to know the correct size of your air filter. 

Or you can measure it if you want. Most of the filter shows L x W x D on its side. Its full form is length, width and depth or thickness. 

If it doesn’t show on its side, then measure it with your measuring rope. Most of them come in inches. For example –  if your air filter shows 19-1/2-in. X 19-1/2-in. X 3/4-in, then you will need 20-in. x 20-in. x 1-in air filter. 

How Often Should You Change The Filter On Your Central Air Conditioner?

Every air filter should be replaced when it gets dirty because a dirty air filter can cause many health issues if it does not get changed in time. 

If you don’t have any allergies or respiratory problems, then you can change your air filters every 90 days. But it is better if you change them every 45 days than doing it every 90 days for better service. 

If you have allergies or if you live in a polluted area, or if you own pets, then you need to change them every one or two weeks max. 

If you are confused about the type or quality, or brand, then take your previous air filter on the market with you and get the exact one for replacement. 

Read more: Do Air Conditioners Filter Out Smoke?

What Are The Signs Of Your Central Air Conditioner Filter Needs To Be Changed?

You need to change your air filters according to their types, quality and environment.

If you have allergies or if you live in a polluted area, or if you own pets, then you need to change the air filters sooner than usual. 

If you install a low-quality filter or if you have a fibreglass air filter, then you need to change them every 30 days. If you have a pleated air filter, then change it every 60 to 90 days. 

Here are some signs of dirty air filters- 

Your aircon vents will look too dusty. 

A cloud of dust will form near the vents or in your wall or ceilings. 

Your air cooling system will take more time to cool down your room than usual. 

When you start your aircon system, it will sound like it is getting strained. 

Your aircon system will lose its durability to cool down a room. Etc. 

How Do You Change A Central Air Conditioner Filter?

To find out if your air filter is working properly or if it is dirty or not, you need to check it. But if you find it dirty, do you know how to change an air filter?

Well, to change an air filter, you need to follow some steps. They are- 

First, find the location of your air filter. For central air filters, it is most of the time located into the walls or ceilings or into your system’s component itself. 

Now detach the cover of your system. 

You will now see your old air filter. Remove it and then dispatch it. 

If you see dust near your vent, clean it properly before installing the new one. 

Now put the new one and see if it is facing in the right direction or not, if the size is correct or not and if there is any gap or not. 

If you see everything is fine, then install the new one and then close the cover. 

What Happens If You Run Your Central Air Conditioner Without A Filter?

You can run your aircon system without an air filter, but it is for an emergency and for a temporary time only. 

You should not use your air cooling system without an air filter. It is not good for your filter and for your health also. 

If you use your central air cooling system without an air filter, then your system won’t be able to stop the moisture from the air from getting inside of your system. 

Your condensation will fail to drain the humidity if you don’t use an air filter. As a result, it will start dripping down into the pan like water, and then the water will cause damage to the whole aircon system.  

How Much Central Air Filter Cost?

If you want to replace your dirty air filter with a new one but don’t have any idea about the price, then I have got your back in this case. 

An air filter cost depends on three things: the quality and its type and your choice. If you are looking for good quality, it will cost you more money. 

For example- a thick air filter will cost you $70 or so. If you want to buy a fibreglass one, it will cost you not more than $4 to $8. If you want to buy a pleated one, it will be a bit costly than the fibreglass and come in about $12 to $30.

So it really depends on your choice of which quality and type you want to buy for your new air filter. 

Where Can You Buy Them?

If you don’t know where to buy an air filter, then this part of the article is for you. You can find an air filter in every home improvements store. Apart from that, you can also find them in the retailers like Walmart or Target or Amazon. 


I hope by now you have got your answer. I guess now you know if is there a filter in a central air conditioner or not. 

So from now on, always remember to check and clean and replace your central aircon’s air filter on time.  

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