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How to Clean Your AC Filter

Sep 14, 2021 | Heating

Now that the fall is fast approaching, it’s vital to rid your filter of the dirt, dust, and other particles that have accumulated throughout the year. Autumn signifies a time of year where the weather changes can introduce some interesting effects on your home. As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to protect your house from these changes.

Why Filter Cleaning Is Important

Keeping your filter clean is necessary for the indoor air quality of your home. With poor air quality, you risk certain pitfalls like increased humidity, leading to mold, wood erosion, and damage to your home’s furniture. It also causes increases to health issues like asthma and sick building syndrome.

You also risk losses inefficiency that can result in problematic consequences. Short-cycling, for example, is an issue that causes your system to turn off prematurely. The polluted air coming through your filter is a potential cause of short cycling and a drain on your wallet.

Also, allowing your filters to stay dirty for months is a potential health risk. When allergens come in through your ducts, they are trapped by your filter. However, if they remain until they are finally forced out by your air conditioner, spreading them through your homes. That’s also why if you’ve experienced allergies of late, the solution may lie in cleaning those dirty filters.

Not cleaning your filter could also have adverse effects on the cooling in your home. Restricted airflow could leave certain places in your home warmer or cooler than others. Not only are uneven temperatures extremely non-efficient, but it’s also like a sign that you’re adding wear and tear to your system.

Speaking of wear and tear, the harder your system has to work to compensate for a clogged filter, the sooner your air conditioner will start to need repairs. In addition, the longer your systems stay in a state of low energy efficiency, the quicker your air conditioner’s lifespan is likely to come to an end. That’s why the small task of maintaining clean filters goes a long way. In order to ensure that your filter is up to the challenge this winter, there are a few steps that will allow you to clean them in a timely and efficient manner.

Turn Off Your AC

The first important step in cleaning your air conditioner filter is turning off your AC. The reason your air conditioner should be off is that the harmful particles that your filter would otherwise stop would come through freely. That’s why, if possible, you should choose a mild time of day where you can have your air conditioner off for a couple of hours to clean your filter.

Examine Your Filter

Next, you will use a screwdriver to remove your filter from the system. However, be sure to check your owner’s manual for multiple filter placements.

Once you’ve got them all, you should examine your filter/filters. In this stage, you’re looking for any signs that you should replace rather than clean. Look for holes, mold, or intensely dark spots that will not come out. Once you’ve thoroughly inspected your filter, you can move on to vacuuming it.

Gently Vacuum Your Filter

It’s essential in this stage that you are careful with your filter to reduce the chances of you damaging it. Don’t worry about getting every single speck that’s difficult to remove. You will handle that in the next stage. Now, with a hose attachment, you will lightly clean the filter. If you clean your filter often, you won’t have to worry as much about any buildup of dirt, but if you happen to have some, the next step is to wash and rinse.

Washing and Rinsing Your Filter

The next step is to rid your filter of the dirt deep in your filter that has accumulated over the months. Spots like this will prevent clean air from passing through the filter, decreasing your air conditioner efficiency.

Before this step, you’ll need a mixture of white vinegar and water to soak your filter. Allow your filter to soak in the mixture for an hour to loosen the clumps of dirt. Next, you’ll remove the filter and lightly rinse it with water. It’s recommended that you don’t use a pressurized hose for this step. Intense water pressure could damage the filter, making it no longer useful.

Final Inspection

The last thing you should do before returning your filter to the air conditioner is to examine it once more. The first reason for this step is to ensure that you haven’t damaged the filter in the cleaning process. The second reason is to check for any buildup that remains. If so, you may consider soaking and rinsing it again. If there is any damage or remaining buildup after the second rinse, it’s a sign that you should replace the filter with a new one.

You’re also checking to make sure that the filter is completely dry before returning it to the system. Any moisture left on the filter when you return it to your AC could eventually result in mold. After you’re done examining it, feel free to return the filter to the system and turn on your air conditioner.

Things to Remember

When it comes to air conditioner upkeep, there are a few immutable laws that you must always remember. For instance, your filter and the rest of your system require consistent attention throughout the year to maintain efficiency. So, it’s best to clean and replace your filters as soon as it’s necessary.

Secondly, not all filters require cleaning. For example, fiberglass filters are disposable and aren’t intended for cleaning. While they are more affordable than other types of filters, they do little for catching small particles and reducing respiratory health risks. However, if you live in an area that doesn’t pose a threat to your air quality, it may be worth it to buy them in bulk and save time you would otherwise spend cleaning.

Electrostatic filters come in a variety of forms, and some of them are washable. However, some aren’t. These filters use a magnetic charge to pull in dust particles. While they are extremely useful, you should check your brand of electrostatic filter to see if they were meant for washing.

UV filters are great for getting rid of microorganisms in the area around your home. They do an excellent job using UV light to eliminate bacteria, but they are less efficient in trapping dust and dirt. Also, you should absolutely not clean them using the washing method described here.

We Put You First

At Hansen Heating & Air, we pride ourselves on caring for our customers in Theodore, AL, and along the Gulf Coast like they are family. Our technicians are highly trained in meeting your heating, cooling, indoor air quality, and generator needs. Excellent customer service, efficiency, and affordability are what we strive to achieve. So if your feel that your home is in need of a helping hand, call us today.