The short answer to this is, “yes.” Your air conditioner simply cannot function as efficiently and effectively as it is meant to if the internal components are dirty. This starts, of course, with changing your air filter.
“But wait,” you might be wondering, “isn’t my air filter there to protect my indoor air quality?”
No, that air filter—which comes standard with your HVAC system upon installation—is in place to protect the inside components of your system from dirt, debris, and other contaminants that can impact AC performance. You should be changing your air filter every 1-3 months during periods of use—the more contaminants in the home the more often it should be changed (for instance, pet dander and cigarette smoke are both considered contaminants).