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How to Clean Your AC Filter


One of the essential parts of your HVAC system is its filter. If this gets clogged up, it can reduce efficiency and make it work harder to cool your home effectively.

To prevent these problems, cleaning your air filter regularly is essential. How often you should do so depends on where you live and how frequently you use your unit.

Remove the Filter

Your air conditioner’s filter is an integral component of its operation. It traps dust and dirt before it enters the HVAC unit, so your system can deliver cleaner air to you.

AC filters come in wide varieties, including air handler cabinets, return air registers, and window AC units. They may consist of plastic mesh encased by a frame made of plastic or foam-like fiber sheets – or some combination thereof.

First, clean your AC filter, and remove it from its housing. Use either a vacuum with a bristle attachment or a full-sized vacuum with a hose to remove as much dust from the surface of the filter. Next, rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm water and dry it thoroughly before reinserting it into your AC unit.

Soak it

If you need to clean your air conditioner filter quickly and conveniently, soaking it in water is ideal. Not only will this remove any dust accumulation that cannot be reached with a vacuum cleaner, but it’s also very economical!

You can also soak your AC filter in a solution of vinegar and water for an hour to eliminate bacteria and allergens that have built up. However, ensure the filter dries entirely before reinstalling it in your air conditioning system.

You can fill a basin with warm water and submerge your filter inside it. Swishing it from side to side will help loosen any dirt particles embedded in the fabric.

Rinse it

Cleaning your air conditioning filter at least once a month, if not more, is critical. A dirty filter can reduce the lifespan and efficiency of your system and even restrict airflow, leading to higher energy consumption. Fortunately, this task isn’t as complex as you may think – all required is time and soapy water! If using reusable AC filters, follow their manufacturer’s directions for washing them properly.

It’s also worth noting that an appropriately sized and cleaned air conditioning filter can save you money on your monthly energy bills.

Dry it

Air filters protect your AC system from becoming clogged with dust, dander, and other particles. This helps it run more efficiently and minimizes the risk of damage to critical mechanical components.

After cleaning the filter in water, it’s essential to let it dry completely before reinserting it into your AC unit. Generally speaking, this should take around 10 hours; you can speed up the process by leaving it outside in direct sunlight or using a hair dryer set on excellent (be mindful not to overheat the delicate material). Once completely dry, install it back into your AC unit and turn on its power; ensure the filter faces toward the unit for secure installation.

Reinsert it

Though putting a damp filter back in your air conditioner may be tempting, do so at your own risk. Dirty filters can lead to damage and reduce the efficiency of your unit; thus, ensure the filter dries entirely before reinserting it.

Clean the filter thoroughly with a vacuum, if possible. Alternatively, soak it in a solution of water and vinegar. Rinse with clean water, allow it to air dry, then reinstall in your AC unit with proper hardware (consult owner’s manual for guidance). Make sure the filter faces correctly and is securely fastened into place.