Replacing an AC filter is usually easy and straightforward. Before trying to repair one, first find out where the filter is located, as there is no fixed position for a filter inside an AC system.
The filters, in some air conditioner setups, are situated in return air ductwork. The duct sucks in air from your house and directs the air into the air handler system of the air conditioner. If your AC system is large with multiple return ducts and air handlers, locating the filters could become difficult.
If your air conditioning and heating systems use the same ducts, both the systems’ air filters could be located near or in the furnace’s blower system. If that’s the case, the filter would most likely be in the furnace’s front near the bottom. The filter would be visible or accessible without opening the thing, or you may have to open the metal panel located on the top or front of the blower. The panel could be attached using screws or hooks.
If there is even the slightest of doubt, consult an HVAC service technician right away. Let the technician know that you are keen to learn about AC filter replacement, so that he shows you the exact place the filter is located, how to remove an existing filter and replace it with a new filter, and how to procure the right AC filter for your setup.
Changing the AC Filter: Using the Correct Replacement Filter
The other tricky aspect is ensuring you use the correct filters. The size of the filter is typically printed on the filter’s side. If you are not sure, ask your HVAC technician to get you the right set of filters, or enlighten you about filter size so that you could order the right filters yourself.
Also, kindly remember that you may require filters that not just safeguard your air conditioner from dust but does more than that. If you’d like to improve your space’s air quality by removing harmful contaminants, such as mold and pollen, you must buy HEPA filters that have a MERV rating of at least 10.
Changing the AC Filter: Replacement Steps
- TURN THE POWER OFF. This step is imperative for a couple of reasons. First is safety so that you do not come in contact with live voltage. The other reason is equipment safety. If the clogged filter is being removed while the unit is still on, your unit will suck in debris and dust. It’s important the power is switched off right at the unit and the circuit breaker too.
- TAKE OUT THE OLD FILTER: Just slide the old filter out from the slot that’s holding it in place.
- INSPECT THE CONDITION: Check the filter’s condition once it has been detached from your unit. Does it appear infested with dust and dirt? If discernible light is not passing through the filter, it should be cleaned or replaced, based on the kind of filter you’re using. Even if the filter has been in use for a relatively brief period, get it replaced anyway. Several factors could determine how quickly your filters get congested. If you are a city dweller, the smog could shorten your air filter’s life by itself.
- CLEAN THE AIR FILTER OR GET A NEW ONE. Is the filter that you’re using reusable or disposable? Typically, a disposable filter comes with a cardboard frame, along with a fiber mesh or paper surface. A reusable, permanent filter is usually made from a more robust material with a special coating and metal frame to render it washable. If you are cleaning a reusable filter, read the washing instructions in the maker’s manual. You would probably need some water for rinsing. Once done, let it dry fully. Or in certain scenarios, you may simply clear the dust with some basic vacuuming.
- INSERT THE CLEANED OR NEW FILTER. To insert the filter the correct way, an arrow mark on the frame of the filter would show you the way the air must flow via the filter. The flow is always to the air handling system and away from the return air duct. Upon inserting the filter into the housing, ensure the arrow points are facing the air handler and away from the return duct.
This is everything you need to know about changing air filters in an AC. Now that you can change filters yourself make sure you change filters once every month. And if the filters of your furnace are different from your AC, you must change them too.
Stepping Up HVAC Maintenance
If you don’t have access to an HVAC service technician to learn AC filter replacement, you are probably not looking into other major HVAC maintenance tasks too. Regular maintenance ensures your equipment stays in top condition, which also means parts lasting longer and the system working more efficiently. Efficient operations mean the system is using less electricity, requiring minimal expensive repairs, and an overall increased lifespan.
The ideal way to extract maximum value from your HVAC setup is signing up for a preventative maintenance arrangement. This is a relatively small initial investment that shall pay off in the form of increased reliable comfort and lower operating costs. Moreover, you could enter into an agreement that’s designed keeping your specific requirements in mind, your budget, and your HVAC equipment. If you live in and around the NYC metro region, let’s get talking.