How To Clean Your AC Filter

Dirty AC Filter

It seemed like the heat wave would never come, but here it is! When running your air conditioning unit this summer, it’s easy to be distracted by the cool air and forget to question how clean and healthy that air actually is. Almost all AC units have a filter and that filter needs to be cleaned and maintained. Cleaning your filter ensures that your system is running optimally and cleaning the air as it enters your home. A dirty, clogged filter will carry dust and debris inside as well as reduce the air flow. This poses a threat to your health, your family’s health as well as drives up energy costs.

There are different types of filters that are used within an air conditioning unit. Some are reusable while others need to be replaced. An air conditioner naturally collects dust and dirt over time. If you have an existing unit, the filter should be cleaned before it is first used during the warmer weather. From there, a cleaning every 1-2 months throughout the summer and early fall is recommended. While a professional can be hired to service and clean your unit, you can also easily and quickly clean it yourself when needed. Here are a few steps you can follow to make sure you can adequately maintain your AC unit this summer.

Step 1 – Find your air filter

Almost every heating and cooling system has a filter, with few exceptions, but some filters can be a little tricky to find.

On a horizontal unit, the filter can often be found in a slot on the intake side of the unit here the air is returned. In a vertical system, you can locate the filter in a slot just below the unit.

For central air units, check behind the return air grill in each room.

Step 2 – Remove the air filter

Always makes sure the unit is powered off and unplugged before opening it!

Once you have done that and located the filter, simply slide it out of the slot that holds it in place.

Step 3 – Inspect the air filter

Check its condition to see how clogged it is and to look for signs of damage. If you have a severely damaged filter, you may need to replace it.

Step 4 – Clean the filter

Once the filter is removed, use a vacuum to remove any buildup. Next, bring the filter outside and rinse it with water from your hose. You can also choose to use your bathtub or large sink if you want to stay indoors. If you’re concerned about odor, sprinkle a little baking soda on the filter before rinsing it.

Step 5 – Allow it to dry

Make sure that the filter has time to dry before reinstalling it in your unit. Give the filter 8-10 hours to dry completely. For this reason, it may be best to wait until a cooler day when you will not need the air conditioning. As a reminder, while you are in the cleaning and drying process, do not run your air conditioner.

Cleaning the filter on your air conditioning unit is a quick and easy task. Ignoring your HVAC system could lead to health issues and a spike in monthly bills. At Pro Home Improvement, we help Michigan homeowners lower their energy costs and promote a healthy living environment with complete insulation, roofing, siding, windows, and gutter services. Call 1-800-PRO-1998 for a free inspection of your home and no obligation estimate.

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