The filter is an essential component of the air conditioning system. A filter’s job is to trap dirt, dust particles, pet dander, pollen, fungal spores, and other contaminants from the indoor air. It helps maintain healthier conditions. When neglected, the pollutants accumulate on the filter, restricting airflow. Your AC will, therefore, need to work extra hard to maintain the desired temperature. This strains vital components, and eventually, the unit will fail sooner than expected. You can avoid such issues by cleaning your filters after every three months. If you reside in a dusty area or live with a heavily shedding pet, ensure that you clean the filters monthly. Use the steps below to clean the filters and keep your air conditioner working optimally.

1. Turn off the Air Conditioning Unit

Before you start cleaning, turn off the unit at the main power supply. This way, the AC won’t cruciate dirty air in your house as you clean the filters. The unfiltered air can cause internal AC parts to accumulate dirt lowering the unit’s efficiency.

2. Remove the Filters

Now open the outer case of the AC. You should be able to locate the air filters along the return ducts. Be gentle while removing the filters to avoid damaging them. For some models, you will need to unfasten screws, while in others, you can pop the air filter out with a putty knife. If you have a wall-mounted unit, slide the front panel off to access the filters. Refer to the user’s manual to determine how you should remove the air filters. In large homes, the AC may have various return vents, and you need to check all of them, so you don’t overlook any air filters. Once you get the filters out, determine if you have disposable or washable filters. For the disposable ones, inspect them for indications of wear, and if any, replace them with new ones. If you have the washable filters, hold them against the light. If there are signs of dust build-up, it’s time to clean them.

3. Vacuum the Filters

Use a handheld vacuum cleaner at a low or a medium setting to suck up dust and dirt from the filters. Vacuuming will help get rid of large dirt particles, making the next cleaning step easier. Move the vacuum up and down gently, and don’t press it on the filters to avoid tearing it. Vacuum the filter from the outside to prevent dust from flowing back into the house. Wipe off the dust on the filters’ frame using a microfiber cloth.

4. Wash the Filters

Read through the manufacturer’s guide since some filter models shouldn’t get wet. If you have water-friendly filters and want to give them a deep cleaning, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a sink and soak them for an hour. For extremely grimy filters, soak them for about two hours. You can also spray the vinegar and water solution on both sides of the filters. This will help get rid of molds and awful smells. Alternatively, put some warm water in a sink, add a few drops of dish soap, mix well to create a lather, submerge the filters, and leave them for some time. While cleaning, do not use tools like wires or brushes to scrub the filters since they might damage them.

5. Rinse the Filters Thoroughly

Now you need to rinse the filter gently with a hose in a deep sink. If you have large filters that can’t fit in a sink, take them outside, lean them on the wall, and spray the hose on the filter. Flip over to the other side and rinse the filters until clean water drips out. Repeat the process severally for thorough cleaning. You can still rinse the filters in your shower using the detachable showerhead. Spray the entire filter surface with water in a zigzag motion to ensure that you cover all the areas. Avoid using a high-pressure hose on your air filters since they are very delicate and can easily get damaged.

6. Allow the Filters to Dry

After cleaning the filters, place them on a clean towel or newspapers in a yard or other space around the house where they can receive sunshine. Flip the filters to dry the other side after some time. Alternatively, you can use a hardier set to cool to speed up the drying process. Be very careful with this since high temperatures can damage the filters.

7. Reinstall the Filters

Once the filters dry entirely, first inspect them for signs of damage. Keep in mind that it’s very easy to rip the delicate material in the cleaning process, so check for holes and tears, and replace any damaged filters with a new one. Also, if the filter still has excessive grime even after cleaning, it might be time to replace it. If your cleaned filter is in good condition, put it back into the AC. Some filters have an arrow showing the direction they should face. Slide the filter into the designated spot and ensure that the arrow faces towards the unit, away from you. Once you replace the air filters, be sure to check the packaging carefully for expiration dates. Take note of the period that the manufacturer guarantees the filter’s effectiveness. Mark on your calendar when you should clean or change the filters next according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Turn the power back on and enjoy uninterrupted and clean airflow.

8. Use the Automatic Cleaning Function

Some modern air conditioning systems come with an auto-clean function that automatically cleans the inside of the unit. If you have such an AC, the self-cleaning feature makes it easier to clean the air filters. The AC uses an internal brush and cassette to remove dirt particles from the air filters, deposit them in a chamber, and later blows them outside. If your AC has this feature, you only need to set it to clean the filters regularly, and it will do the job on your behalf.

Get Your AC Air Filters Professionally Cleaned

By regularly cleaning the air filters, your AC will run more efficiently, saving you energy bills. If you run your AC regularly, you need to clean the air filters more often. But if you don’t have the time to clean your air filters or the procedure appears somewhat confusing, seek professional assistance. When you plan for regular AC maintenance, the technician will help clean the filters and other internal components to ensure that your unit runs at optimum capacity. During tune-ups, the professional will also check the thermostat, inspect the refrigerant, the electrical connections, seal leaking ducts, and replace other worn-out parts. An experienced technician will also advise you on how to operate your system efficiently. They can spot early signs of malfunction and fix them to prevent frustrating breakdowns in the middle of the season.

If you are struggling with dirty air filters, seek help from Honest Air Conditioning. Our company offers exceptional heating and cooling services to maintain all-year comfort in your home. We also provide indoor air quality, duct sizing, and sealing services in Mesa, AZ, and the nearby regions. Contact us online or call us today to book an appointment.