Updated at: 05-10-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Regular maintenance of your air conditioner’s filter begins with learning how to do it yourself. In order for your heating and air conditioning systems to work properly, this is a critical step. We’ll cover all aspects of filter cleaning in this post. That covers the steps you must take and the frequency with which you must carry them out.

Why Should You Clean Your Air Filter?

  • less allergens and less dust in the air.
  • Lower energy costs as a result of improved unit efficiency Filters that have been clogged with debris increase the workload on the machine. The less efficient it becomes the more effort it expends. More money is spent on operating a less efficient machine.
  • To increase the lifespan of your HVAC system: This is directly related to the unit’s efficiency. To put it simply, the more a system is put through its paces, the more susceptible it is to malfunction or overheating.

Types of Filters

Disposable Filters

3 Ways to Clean the Filter on Your Air Conditioner - wikiHow

There’s no way to clean these; they should be thrown out and replaced. If you’re running low on replacements and investigating other options, now might be a good time to invest in washable filters, which you can buy in bulk to make replacements more convenient.

Washable/Reusable/Permanent Filters aka Electrostatic Filters

  • For the most part, electrostatic cling is generated by air friction. Static cling is nothing new to you; you’ve probably experienced it in the past.
  • The higher the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of your new reusable filter, the more efficient it will be at trapping dust and other particles.

How To Clean An Air Conditioner Filter: The Basics

It’s important that you know that not all AC filters can be cleaned. Your filter must be replaced if it is made of cardboard or has a written warning that it is no longer serviceable. Replacement air filters may be purchased at most home improvement stores. Bring your old filter with you so that you may compare the new one’s dimensions.

Why Should You Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter?

Air conditioners circulate the air in your home, making it more comfortable to live there. In order to keep your clean air clean, they use filters to keep dirt and debris from being cycled along with it. There is an increased strain on the AC’s compressor when the filter becomes blocked. As a result, your air conditioner’s lifespan is shortened and you end up paying more in energy costs. Of course, this has a negative impact on the air quality in your house.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter?

In order to keep your air conditioner running at its best, you should clean your air filter on a regular basis, not just twice a year when a professional inspects it.

Maintaining your filter (whether it’s cleaned or replaced) should be done at least once a month. If you live in a region with a lot of pollution or if you enjoy a dusty pastime like carpentry, you may find yourself doing this on a much more regular basis.

Don’t rely on your senses. You may want to increase your cleaning and replacement intervals if you see a lot of dust on your filter during monthly inspections.

How To Clean A Central Air Conditioner Filter

When it comes to cleaning your central air conditioner’s filter, we begin by going over the procedures involved in the process. Window and ducted units will be the next focus. Only if your air conditioner’s filter is washable will these instructions work. For disposable filters, you’ll need to replace them rather than clean them.

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Step One: Determine The Air Conditioner Filter Location

Central air conditioners often have a filter near the cold air return, which is where the cool air comes in. For the most part, this part is located in the basement in the United States of America. Since Phoenix homes do not commonly have basements, it is common for air conditioners to be installed in garages or other types of storage rooms.

Your return vents may also have filters attached to them, which are likely to be dispersed throughout the house as well.

Step Two: Shut The Power Off

It’s a good idea to turn off your air conditioner before performing any maintenance. This will safeguard both you and your valuables.

Step Three: Remove The Filter And Vacuum It

Most of the time, the filter will be heavily caked in dust. Using a vacuum with a bristles attachment, you can extract the majority of it. Include the filters that are hidden behind the returns in your central air conditioning system. As significant as they are! Don’t forget to vacuum behind and around your filter.

Step Four: Soak The Filter In A 50/50 Mixture Of Water And Vinegar

Please read your filter’s instruction manual (if applicable) before you begin this procedure. When it comes to air conditioner filters, there are some that aren’t meant to be submerged in water.

Soak your water-friendly filter for roughly an hour in a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Allow the filter to dry completely before replacing it.

Use a hose if you don’t have a large enough basin to accommodate your air conditioner filter. Keep the pressure moderate because anything too strong can quickly pierce the filter.

Step Five: Reinstall The Filter

Reinstall the filter when it has been thoroughly cleaned (i.e., there should be no dust or debris left). A common feature of most filters is an arrow that indicates which way they should be positioned. As the name implies, this arrow should point in the direction of airflow.

Congrats! All right, that’s it. However, if you’re in the mood to clean, take a look at this page for some advice.

How To Clean A Ducted Air Conditioner Filter

Let’s have a look at ducted air conditioners now that you know how to clean a central air conditioner filter.

Step One: Locate The Air Conditioner Filter Location

With a ducted system, your filter will be tucked away behind the main return air ducts.

Step Two: Shut The Power Off

As previously said, shutting off your air conditioner while cleaning its filter is a good idea in order to prevent any unnecessary harm.

Step Three: Vacuum And Soak Your Filter Down

In the section on cleaning central air conditioning filters, use the same instructions. Once the filter has dried out, you can reinstall it again. Double-check that your reusable filter is watertight before using it in a vacuum cleaner.

Step Four: Reinstall The Filter And Turn Your AC Back On

Voila! You’re ready to leave now.

How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner Filter

Window air conditioner filters don’t necessitate a drastic change in cleaning procedures. Although it isn’t necessary, it’s always a good idea to check your filter for mold or mildew when you clean it. If you see one of these, it’s a sign that you need to do some additional cleaning.

Step One: Shut The Air Conditioner Off And Unplug It

While this isn’t as critical for other types of air conditioners, window air conditioners require special attention because you will be working directly in front of moving parts.

Step Two: Remove The Air Conditioner’s Front Panel To Access The Filter

Screws, pressure, or simple plastic clips can be used to secure this panel in place. You won’t be able to miss it after you remove the panel.

Step Three: Vacuum And Wash Your Window Air Conditioner Filter

Always check the owner’s handbook of your air conditioner to ensure that water will not damage the filter. Having a musty filter may be an indication that the entire unit needs to be cleaned thoroughly due to moisture concerns.

Step Four: Let The Filter Dry Before Replacing It

Make sure that the filter and the front panel are in their correct locations. Afterwards, you’ll be all set!

Other “Filters” on Your AC Unit That You Can Clean

  • Remove the power cord from the device.
  • To clean the fins, you can vacuum or use a gentle brush.
  • If required, use a butter knife to straighten bent fins.
  • Remove heavy trash by hand (leaves, grass clippings or anything else that has been collected by the unit).
  • Smaller particles can be removed from the machine with a hose.
  • If required, use a butter knife to straighten bent fins.

3 Ways to Clean the Filter on Your Air Conditioner - wikiHow

FAQs About How to Clean Filters for Air Conditioners

You may still have questions after reading about how to clean your air conditioner’s filters and the advantages that come with doing so. Continue reading to learn more about filter maintenance.

Q: How often should you clean an air conditioner filter?

During the cooling season, you should clean or change your air conditioner filter once every month or two. Once every three months, you should clean or replace your air conditioner’s filter if it also serves as a heat pump.

Q: What happens if you don’t clean the air conditioner filter?

Eventually, the air conditioner filter will become clogged with the dust and debris it picks up from the air, preventing the air handler from receiving the necessary amount of air. If your air conditioner’s filter is blocked, it will have to work more to cool the house, which increases the cost of your AC unit. It is possible that insufficient ventilation will cause the AC coils to freeze and become unusable if the cold air becomes trapped.

Q: Does cleaning the AC filter make it colder?

It’s true, in a sense. When the air conditioner’s filter becomes blocked, cold air is unable to exit the machine and enter the house. Replaced filters improve airflow, allowing colder air to enter the house

Q: Is it safe to run AC without a filter?

It’s fine to leave an air conditioner running with no filter for a short period of time, but doing so for long periods will damage the AC and degrade the air quality in your home.

How To Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter: Conclusion

It’s not difficult at all to clean the filter on your air conditioner. However, you can easily adopt a policy of “out of sight, out of mind” because you probably won’t notice the immediate repercussions of a dirty filter policy in this situation. It’s critical, though, that you develop a regular cleaning routine for your air filter. When your filters become clogged, your system will run inefficiently and your health will be put at risk.

Please check out our blogs on “Different types of hot water tanks” and “How to remove nitrates from well water” for additional information on these topics.