A Guide to Cleaning Your AC Filters
As the fall approaches, it’s necessary to understand the importance of cleaning your AC unit’s filters. Dust, dirt and other particles can become trapped in your filters, and over time, the amount of debris builds up. Therefore, it’s recommended that you clean your filters every few months. If you neglect to clean them, you’ll lose out on some benefits of your cooling system and put yourself at risk for future problems.
Letting particles build up on your filters can cause several issues, the first and most immediate being a loss of energy efficiency. When your filter becomes clogged, the air trying to come through it is partially restricted. When that happens, your air conditioner must work harder to cool your home, leading to a waste of energy. The following steps will help you to clean your filter safely and effectively .
Turn Off Your System
The first thing you’ll need to do to clean your filter is to make sure your system is turned off. If your air conditioner remains on, you risk letting in the particles and contaminants your filter is designed to eliminate. If that were to happen, anyone in your household with allergies or a sensitivity to dust could breathe in those particles.
Inspect Your Filter
Next, open up the unit with a screwdriver and remove the filters. Depending on your specific type of air conditioner, you may have one or several filters, so be sure to check your owner’s manual if you’re unsure.
Inspect the filter and check for any damage that may require a replacement. Some filters require replacement instead of cleaning, so refer to the manual or an AC professional about your specific system. Your inspection should include identifying any tears, grime, or signs of hard use. Once you’ve ensured that your filters are still in good shape, it’s time to vacuum.
Vacuum the Filter
Use the hose attachment and gently vacuum your filter. It’s not necessary to risk damaging your filter trying to get rid of every single speck. After you’ve thoroughly vacuumed it, inspect the filter again and take note of any buildup remaining. Depending on how often you clean your filter, this could be the last step, but if there are still signs of buildup, the next step is to wash it.
Wash Your Filter
Deeply washing your filter will help to remove the buildup of particles that has happened over time. As a result, they’ll look like darker spots that stand out against the filter. If your filter isn’t cleaned, these are the spots that would prevent air from coming through, costing you energy efficiency.
First, you’ll need to soak the filter. Prepare a bucket filled with a mixture of white vinegar and water, and then let the filter soak for an hour. Once you take the filter out, lightly rinse it to prevent damaging it with strong water pressure. After that, it’s important to let the filter thoroughly dry before placing it back into the unit. This avoids any issues with mold.
Reinstall the Filter
Before reinstalling your filter, you need to ensure that it wasn’t damaged during the cleaning process. Inspect the filter for any signs of damage such as rips or holes. Also, you should verify the filter’s cleanliness by looking for any leftover buildup, in which case you should consider resoaking it. If you’ve cleaned it to the best of your ability and there’s still buildup, it’s possible it could be grime, which might mean you should replace the filter with a new one.
Once you’ve verified the filter is in good shape, reverse the process of taking it out, and you’re all done. Be sure to check the expiration of the filter because an older one will be less efficient and more likely to break due to wear and tear.
Things to Remember
There are a few additional things you need to remember about cleaning your filters. Firstly, you should clean your filters monthly to ensure that you maintain maximum efficiency. Also, not all filters need washing, and some shouldn’t be washed at all, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your filters.
Your AC Experts
Breeze Air Conditioning has served the Palm Desert community for over 40 years. Contact us for expert HVAC services including furnace installation, AC replacement, heating repair, cooling repair, and preventative HVAC maintenance. We also offer indoor air quality and design services. Our staff is trained to respect your home and handle your issues with professionalism and efficiency. Call us today if you need some professional assistance.
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