How to Change the Filter on Your Air Conditioner

Maintaining your air conditioner is essential for keeping it running smoothly and efficiently. One of the most important parts of this maintenance is regularly inspecting, cleaning, or replacing your air conditioner filter. Doing so can help avoid unnecessary service calls from your local HVAC technician and save you money in the future. In this article, we'll discuss how often you should clean or replace your air conditioner filter, how to clean it, and how to know when it needs to be replaced.

We'll also provide step-by-step instructions on how to replace the filter in your air conditioning unit. Before starting any maintenance on your air conditioner, be sure to turn off the power and consult your HVAC owner's manual to determine what type of filter you need to purchase. The first step is to locate the filter. It's usually close to your home thermostat, in a return duct, or right next to the air handler of your air conditioning system.

Once you've located the filter, take a moment to determine the direction in which air flows through the system. Air filters come in a variety of sizes, from 1-inch filters up to 4-inch filters. The larger the filter, the longer it will last before needing to be replaced or cleaned. If you have an electronic media filter, you don't need to worry about replacing it every 1-3 months; you can wait 6 months to a year before replacing it.

When it comes time to replace or clean your air conditioner filter, be sure to measure the old filter or note its dimensions if printed on the housing before discarding it. You must replace it with an exact match of the model. This may require ordering it on the brand's website. If you have a washable filter, you can simply remove it from its housing and rinse it with water until all debris is removed. However, washable filters are more vulnerable to user errors and may not be covered by some manufacturer or home warranty plans. If you have a disposable filter, simply discard the old one and insert a new one into its housing with the airflow arrows pointing in the right direction.

Manufacturers often indicate the suggested time frame for replacement on the air filter packaging. The steps for replacing an air conditioner filter will depend on the type of air conditioning unit you have in your home. Some ovens have filters at the bottom that are accessible by removing front access panels. Other ovens have filters at the top that require removing screws or panels. Particulate buildup can greatly affect the performance of your air conditioning unit; a particularly dirty AC filter will not filter out contaminants and cause damage to your air conditioner. Routine cleaning is therefore extremely important to ensure the efficiency and long service life of your air conditioning unit. To avoid these problems, be sure to inspect, clean, or replace your air conditioner filter regularly as part of your air conditioner maintenance routine.

Doing so can help keep your system running smoothly and efficiently and hopefully avoid an unnecessary service call from your local HVAC technician.

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