The filter on your air conditioner plays an important role in preventing particles, bacteria and other substances from being blown into your room during the cooling or heating process. It is not surprising, then, that the filter can easily become clogged by these particles.
If your air conditioning filter is blocked by particles and other foreign bodies it will run less efficiently as the air conditioner is forced to work harder to push air through and then, once the air is pushed through, can even circulate disease throughout your house. This can lead to many respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and even Legionnaires' disease.
It's good to know then that cleaning or replacing the air filter in your air conditioner is usually an easy, inexpensive process.
You can hire a professional to clean your air conditioning filter or you can try it yourself. Depending on what the filter is made from (there are a variety of materials ranging from foam to electrostatic mesh such as polypropylene) you may choose to simply replace it. Foam is often considered inferior and not worth cleaning as it will age and eventually break into particles of its own.
Removing the filters is usually a simple process and should be outlined in the instruction manual that came with your unit. Mesh filters can be cleaned with a cloth or rag and then washed thoroughly in soapy water. It is then important to wait until they are fully dried before reinserting them back into your air conditioner. Be careful when washing as you don't want to damage the filter or add any lint to it from the cloth.
Vacuuming your air conditioning filter is also a suggested method and can be effective however this has been known to damage the filter in some situations, so it's best to refer to your manual and, if in doubt, contact an air conditioner professional.