The air filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. You’d be amazed how much builds up on there in a very short amount of time. Just think about the air quality in your area and how much grim can accumulate on your floors, countertop and appliances if you didn’t clean the filter for a month… That’s how much debris is clogging your air filter, and mush more if you haven’t remembered to change the AC filter in a while. Don’t know how to change your AC filter? Don’t fret or look anywhere else. Here are 5 simple (and quick) steps to change your AC filter.
- Turn off the Power: This is important for two reasons. First, there is your safety. Don’t risk touching live voltage. The second is the safety of your equipment. If the unit is still running while you’re removing a clogged filter, dust and debris can get sucked in the unit. It’s important that you switch off power at the unit itself, and also at the circuit breaker.
- Remove the Old Filter: Simply slide it out of the slot that holds it in place.
- Check the Condition: Once you’ve taken the filter out, check the condition. Does it look clogged with dirt and dust? If you hold it up to the light, you probably can’t see much light coming through. This filter needs to be replaced or cleaned, depending on the type of filter that you are using. Even if it’s been in use for less than the time recommended by the manufacturer, replace it anyway. Many factors can impact how fast your filters get clogged.
- Clean the Filter or Grab a New One: Are you using disposable filters or reusable ones? A disposable filter typically has a cardboard frame and a paper or fiber mesh surface. A permanent, reusable filter is made of a more sturdy material with a metal frame and a special coating to make it washable. If you’re cleaning a reusable one, check the manufacturer’s instructions for washing. You’ll probably just need to rinse with water and let it dry completely. Or in some cases, you can just vacuum away the dust.
- Insert the New or Cleaned Filter: Now you just need to put it back in the right way. An arrow on the filter’s frame shows you the direction that air should flow through the filter, which is always away from the return air duct and toward that air handler mechanism. When you insert the filter back in the housing, make sure that arrow points away from the return and toward the air handler.
See, wasn’t that easy? Now that you know how to change an AC filter, set a reminder for yourself so you remember to do it every month. And, don’t forget about your furnace if its filters are separate from your air conditioner.