How to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter

Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning

Gaithersburg HVAC Contractors


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air conditioner filters cleaningIt is important to keep air conditioner filters clean to prevent a buildup of debris that will restrict airflow and allow dust and debris to enter into the air conditioning. A clean air filter can improve the air quality in your home and lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

Unfortunately, all too many homeowners do not regularly clean their air conditioner filter as they are not sure how to do it properly. By learning more about the steps involved, you can effectively clean your air conditioner filter with little effort and in less than a few hours. The following is an overview of how to clean an air conditioner filter, when to consider replacing your air conditioner, and more.

Steps When Cleaning an Air Conditioner Filter

There are different types of air filters, and the cleaning process may vary. However, most air conditioners can be effectively cleaned through a simple process. Although we discuss each step in greater depth below, the steps involved in the air conditioner filter cleaning process include:

  • Turning the AC off
  • Inspecting the filter
  • Vacuuming the filter
  • Washing and drying the filter

Following these four steps is a general guide to cleaning the AC filters. However, depending on the information discovered in each step, the process may vary. The following is an in-depth look at each step.

Power air conditioning unit off

The first thing you will need to do when cleaning your air conditioner filter is to turn the AC system power off. Otherwise, unfiltered air will circulate and may lead to low air quality inside your home. Once the power is turned off, remove the vent cover. You will need a screwdriver for this step. Once removed, gently remove the filter. (Tip: Wear rubber gloves as the filter will likely be dirty).

Check the air conditioner filter for damageYou can then inspect the air conditioner filter. Check the filter for damage, such as an excessive buildup of debris, holes, rips, and a bend in the frame. If there is noticeable damage, then it is best to replace the filter. If you know the age of your air filter, consider checking to see how long they are intended to last with the manufacturer. Replace the filter if it is outdated.

If you notice that there is a buildup of grime, meaning a collection of dirt and debris that is firmly attached to the filter then you can proceed with the additional steps to clean it.

Vacuum air filter

A great place to start the cleaning process is to use the hose attachment of a vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the air conditioner filter. If the air filter was cleaned recently, or if the dirt is removed easily with the vacuum and the air filter is clean, clear and free from damage, then you do not need to wash it. However, if there is still grime that covers the air conditioner filter, then you will need to wash and dry it.

Wash and dry filter

If there is grime build-up, then washing it with water and white vinegar can generally clean the air conditioner filter properly. If the air conditioner fits into the sink, fill two-thirds of the sink with equal parts water and white vinegar (do not overfill). You can then place the air filter into the solution and allow it to soak for about an hour. Ideally, it will wash away the built-up debris and dirt.

You can then rinse off the air conditioner filter with water in the sink or in a bucket or tub with an outdoor hose. Regardless, be sure not to apply too much water pressure as it may damage the filter. After rinsing it off, set the filter in a clean and safe place for it to dry. Once it is dry, you can reposition it into the AC unit and turn the power back on.

Clean filters monthly

Routine cleaning of air conditioner filtersRoutine cleaning is a great way to keep your air filters working properly to contribute to the health of your air conditioning unit.and the air in your home. Depending on how often the air conditioner is used, the filters should be cleaned or replaced every 30 to 60 days.

It is important to understand that there are different types of air filters as well. Be sure to understand the type of air filter you have. While some are reusable and ideal for cleaning, other air conditioner filters are meant to be replaced once they are dirty.

During a routine cleaning, it is also encouraged to check and clean the coils and fans. This further ensures the air conditioning unit works well and it reduces the risk of faulty parts as the AC unit gets older. If there is damage to the air conditioner filter, coils, fans, or another part, then be sure to replace them to avoid more costly repairs in the future.

Contact Presidential for Additional Information

Presidential Heating and Air Conditioning offers a wide range of HVAC services, including air conditioning, indoor air quality and more. We encourage anyone who has issues with or questions about their HVAC unit to give us a call for more information. We can offer our professional advice on how to clean and when to replace air conditioner filters and help with all other HVAC needs as well. You can reach us via phone, and we can offer a free estimate and schedule a time for service on the initial call.

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