How To Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter In 5 Easy Steps

How To Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter In 5 Easy Steps

Anthony Barnes

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The air conditioning system is a very complex machine that requires regular cleaning and maintenance.

If you want your AC to run smoothly for years to come, then it’s time to clean the filter.

The filter is one of the most important parts of the air conditioner because it helps keep dust out of the unit. It also keeps allergens from entering into the home.

Air filters can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner or by hand. In this article we will show you how to clean your air conditioner filter using a vacuum cleaner.

So, let’s get to it!

What Does An Air Conditioning Filter Do?

An air conditioner filter removes impurities such as pollen, dirt, and other particles from the air being cooled inside your home.

This allows the air to flow more freely through the unit.

If the filter becomes clogged with debris, it may not perform its function properly.

When this happens, the air conditioner has to work harder to cool down the air. This means higher energy consumption and increased utility bills.

In addition, if the filter does become dirty, it could cause mold growth on the coils. This is an unpleasant smell that might spread throughout the house.

Why Should I Change My Air Conditioner Filter?

There are several reasons why you should change your air conditioner filter regularly:

1) To make sure that the unit runs efficiently.

2) To reduce the amount of dust and allergens that enter the home.

3) To prevent mold growth on the coils and increase the lifespan of the air conditioner.

4) To avoid having to replace the entire unit at any point in time.

5) To save money on your monthly utility bill.

6) To improve indoor air quality.

7) To protect the health of your family members.

How Often Is Best To Clean An Air Conditioner Filter?

It depends on what type of filter you have. Some filters need to be changed every 2-3 months while others only need to be changed once a year.

Here are some tips to help you determine when to change your air conditioner filters:

• Check the manufacturer’s instructions. They usually give guidelines on how often they recommend changing the filter.

• Keep track of the date of installation. You can do this by marking the filter box with a permanent marker.

• Look for signs of wear and tear. For example, if there are cracks around the edges of the filter, it needs to be replaced.

• Is the filter getting dirty fast? If so, you probably need to change it sooner than later.

• How much dust is coming off the filter? A lot of dust indicates that the filter needs to be changed soon.

• Are there large amounts of insects flying around the room? If so, chances are the filter needs to be replaced. Insects can carry bacteria and viruses which can lead to allergies.

• Is the air conditioner making a loud noise? If so, it is likely that the filter needs to go. Loud noises indicate that something is wrong with the compressor.

What Is The Best Type Of Filter To Use?

The best type of filter to use depends on the size of your home and the number of people living in it.

Small homes typically require smaller filters because they don’t hold as much debris. Larger homes require larger filters because they contain more space.

You also want to consider the size of the air conditioner (see also ‘6 Types Of Air Conditioners For Your Home‘) itself. The bigger the air conditioner, the longer the filter will last.

Air conditioners come in three different sizes: small, medium, and large.

Small air conditioners (see also ‘How Much Power Does An Air Conditioner Use?‘) are perfect for rooms where one person lives. These units generally run between 50 and 70 watts.

Medium sized air conditioners are great for bedrooms or offices where two or more people live. These units range from 75 to 100 watts.

Large air conditioners are ideal for large spaces such as kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms. They range from 150 to 200 watts.

If you plan on installing an air conditioner (see also ‘Through The Wall Air Conditioner Installation‘) in a new construction project, it’s important to know that the builder should install the proper size unit for your home.

Step-By-Step: How To Clean An Air Conditioner Filter 

Step-By-Step: How To Clean An Air Conditioner Filter

Here are 5 simple and easy steps to cleaning your air conditioner (see also ‘ How To Clean Air Conditioner Drain Line Like A Pro ‘) filter using a vacuum and a simple cleaning solution:

Step 1: Switch Off

Turn off the power to the unit.

Doing so will make sure that you avoid damage to the machine. 

Step 2: Locate The Filter

Find where the filter is located on the air conditioner.

It could be behind the area of the main return air duct, or they could be anywhere in the house if you have a central air conditioning unit. 

Step 3: Clean The Filter

Remove the filter which may be coated in debris and dust. Vacuum the filter clean. 

If the filter is waterproof, you can also let it soak in a simple and non-toxic solution. Using half and half of water and white vinegar, soak the filter for around an hour.

Once finished, rinse with low pressure water and let it air dry completely. 

Step 4: Extra Cleaning

Using a brush attachment with your vacuum cleaner, clean the blades of the fan. This will help get rid of any dirt and debris that may have accumulated over time.

If you do not own a vacuum cleaner, you can use a rag and some soap and water to clean the blades of the air conditioner. Just make sure to rinse the blade after each use.

Step 5: Put The Filter Back

Replace the filter box back onto the air conditioner and replace all the screws. Make sure to tighten them down securely so that there are no gaps.

Do bear in mind that if your filter is not reusable, it is better to remove it and replace it with a new one. The above will not be applicable to your situation. 

Tips On How To Clean Your Air Conditioning Filter

Now that you know how to clean your air conditioning filter, here are some tips to remember when doing it yourself:

Use only a soft bristle brush when cleaning the fan blades. Don’t use hard bristles as they could damage the blades.

Never use a metal tool such as a screwdriver or wrench to remove screws. Instead, use a plastic handled tool.

When replacing the filter, always use a new one. Old ones tend to clog quickly and cause problems.

Be careful not to touch the fan blades while cleaning them. Doing so could result in skin irritation.

After cleaning the fan blades, check the filter for any debris. If you see anything, blow it away.

Do not leave the filter exposed to direct sunlight. It will dry out and become brittle.

Before putting the filter back on, make sure to wipe the area around the filter with a damp cloth and then let it dry by using a clean, dry rag.

This will prevent moisture from getting trapped between the filter and the air conditioner.

Moisture can lead to mold growth which is bad for both indoor air quality and health.

If you notice any signs of mold growing on the filter, turn off the air conditioner immediately and contact a professional HVAC technician.

Mold can be very dangerous if left untreated.

Finally, don’t forget to wash your hands before touching the air conditioner again!

Final Thoughts

Air conditioning filters should be cleaned regularly.

They need to be replaced every 6 months or 12 months depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. After this period, the filter needs to be replaced again.

The best way to keep your air conditioner running smoothly is to follow these steps. Remember that regular maintenance will help extend the life of your system.

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age