How to Change an Air Conditioner Filter
A quality air conditioner filter is an important tool for reducing any dust and dirt circulating through your home. It also keeps particulates from building up on the inside of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit. If your HVAC unit has a dirty filter, it functions at a lower efficiency and uses more energy than a unit with a clean filter. Changing your HVAC filter keeps your indoor air clean while helping your heating and cooling unit run at maximum efficiency.
By routinely changing the filter, you can reduce the energy consumption of your air conditioner by 5 to 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you have never changed an air conditioner filter before, donít worry. Most filters can be changed in just a few easy steps.
Step 1: Safety first
Safety comes first when performing any household chore. Always turn off your air conditioner system before changing the filter to avoid the danger of any electrical accidents.
Step 2: Locate the filter
Find the filter near the return air duct. With a furnace style air conditioning system, the filter may be attached to the unit. With a forced air style system, the filter may be positioned over a vent in a wall near the thermostat. Find window air conditioner filters in the unitís grill, which is adjacent to the room it is cooling.
Step 3: Open panel and remove filter
Most HVAC units have a panel that will slide or pop open and the filter should be behind this panel. (Of course, if the filter is visible, there wonít be a panel to open.) Remove the filter from its slot, noting which direction the airflow arrows on the filter are pointing. Pull the filter out gently, taking care not to dislodge any clumps of dust or grime from the filter. Wipe out the filter area with a cloth to remove excess dust or dirt build-up.
Step 4: Insert new filter
Before sliding the new filter into place, double check to see which way the airflow arrows on the filter frame are facing. Be sure the arrows are pointing in the direction of the airflow. If a panel or grill has been removed, replace it after the filter is in place.
Reusable air conditioner filters
If the unit has a reusable or washable filter, it needs to be removed and then rinsed clean. Vacuum larger dust clumps before rinsing. It may be easiest to wash the filter outside with a hose or fill a tub or large basin with water and thoroughly soak the filter until itís clean. Allow the filter to dry completely before reinstalling, making sure to line up the airflow arrows correctly.
Shopping for sizes
The easiest way to determine the air conditioner filter size is to look on the filter currently in use. The dimensions should be printed on the frame of the filter. It may read as ď12 x 30 x 1Ē or ď14 x 25 x 1Ē or another number combination of three measurements. A custom air conditioner filter may have non-standard measurements. Check the filter frame for size and maker information.
Importance of MERV ratings
The higher the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating number, the smaller the particles the filter will catch. A filter with a higher MERV rating typically costs more than one with a lower rating. However, it will remove more particulates and last longer.
Many filter types need to be changed monthly, while other types can last several months. In any case, you can mark your calendar to help you stay on a regular replacement schedule. DiscountFilters.com customers can also sign up for an email filter change reminder.