The Effects of a Clogged Air Conditioning Unit

When the weather starts to heat up and the Colorado sun is beating down, you’ll need your air conditioner more than ever. As many homeowners know, a malfunctioning air conditioning unit in the dead of summer can be a frustrating, uncomfortable problem. After all, no one should have to sweat through the summer days in their own home!

If you’re experiencing issues with your air conditioner, a clogged filter or drain could likely be the culprit. Your air conditioning filter and drain line may clog over time for a number of reasons, the most common one being too few cleanings. 

Regardless of the cause, a clogged air conditioning unit can have various negative effects on your home. Let’s learn about these effects and the importance of keeping your home air conditioning unit in top condition. 

Effects of a Clogged Air Conditioner Filter

Higher Energy Bill

With a clogged filter, your air conditioning unit has to work harder than usual to produce the same cooling effect for your home. This means that the unit will use more energy than normal, and rack up your utility bill in the process. 

Frozen Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is a component of your air conditioning unit. It functions to absorb heat from the air in your home, then lower its temperature and release it back into the room. Without this component, your air conditioner won’t be able to cool down your home effectively. 

When your air conditioner is clogged, it prevents air from filtering in and out of the evaporator coil. The coil then won’t have ample heat for absorption. This causes the development of condensation of the coil, which can freeze over time and keep the coil from doing its job. 

Poor Cooling

Coloradans know that the summer months can be swelteringly hot. No one wants to get caught on a hot, sweaty day with a poorly functioning air conditioning unit. But, that’s exactly what may happen if your unit’s filter becomes clogged. Poor cooling is one of the main effects of a clogged air conditioning unit. 

Overheating Unit

As mentioned above, a clogged air conditioning unit has to use more power than usual to cool your home. This added energy heats up the unit and could lead to overheating. Many air conditioning units will automatically turn off when overheating occurs to prevent damage. With an air conditioner that keeps turning off to cool down, it will be tricky to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. 

Debris Released Into The Air

If your air conditioner filter is clogged, it can cause dust and debris to be released into your home. You may notice more dust buildup on surfaces and even more dust floating around in the air. 

To keep your family as healthy as possible, it’s important to maintain good air quality in your home. Dust and debris in the air from a clogged A/C filter can cause respiratory irritation and even exacerbate health issues like asthma. So, don’t delay in changing your air-conditioning unit’s filter if it’s clogged, or your home’s air quality could suffer.

Effects of a Clogged Condensate Drain

The condensate drain keeps your air conditioner functioning properly by draining condensation formed by the evaporator coil. It can be hard to remember to clean the condensate drain, but doing so is essential to avoid the growth of mold and algae.

Mold and Algae Growth in the Condensate Drain

When your condensate drain is clogged, water can’t filter out of the drain as usual. This causes water to sit in the drain. Over time, mold and algae can develop in the drain. Not only will mold and algae growth hinder the effectiveness of your A/C unit, but it will also have these ramifications on your home: 

Higher Humidity Levels

When condensation from your unit’s evaporator coil can’t drain out properly due to mold or algae in the condensate drain, it will impact the humidity in your home. You’ll notice a rise in humidity as this issue worsens, and high humidity can be quite uncomfortable in the hot summer months. 

Water Damage to Your Home

Over time, a clogged condensate drain can become an issue for your entire home as water seeps in and causes damage. 


Wherever you have standing water for long periods of time, you’re likely to have odors, too. A musty smell in your home is a sign that your condensate drain may be clogged.

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