A Complete Guide on How to Clean Your Air Conditioning Filters
When was the last time you cleaned your air conditioning filters?
If your answer is never, you’re about to have a nasty shock when you open up your air conditioner for the first time.
Air filters help circulate clean air through your heating and cooling system by trapping dirt, dust, allergens and other pollutants such as pollen and bacteria.
When they are left uncleaned for a prolonged period of time, they start to get clogged and collect moisture, resulting in the growth of mould.
And as you would expect, this mould is then circulated into the air you breathe at home.
These harmful contaminants not only negatively impact your health and comfort, but they also cause your air conditioner to run inefficiently, resulting in expensive energy bills.
This is why it’s so important to clean your air filters regularly to maintain healthy air quality and better energy efficiency.
The following step-by-step guide will explain how to clean your air filters for a split-system air conditioner and ducted systems, as well as how often and the risks associated with neglecting them.
How often should you clean air conditioning filters?
As a general rule of thumb, you should clean your air filters at the beginning of each season, which is generally every 3 to 4 months.
However, during the peak seasons — summer and winter — it’s recommended to clean them every single month. Although it sounds like overkill, you’d be surprised just how much dirt can build up in a short amount of time, especially with increased usage.
Frequency will also depend on the environment of your air conditioner. For residential environments with pets, that are dustier, or contain indoor plants should be cleaned more regularly.
Commercial systems should be carried out every month by an expert.
Cleaning and replacing a clogged filter with a clean one can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption anywhere between 5% to 15%.
When do you need to replace air conditioner filters?
Air filters that look excessively dirty or damaged in anyway may need to be replaced. Keep an eye out for the following tell-tale signs your air filter needs replacing.
- If there are any holes, tears or wrinkles in the filter
- Reduced airflow despite settings
- Excessively dirty and grimy
- If you can’t see light through the filter when you hold up to a light source
- Higher energy bills
What happens if you do not clean aircon filters?
Clogged air con filters apply unnecessary strain on your system, forcing it to work harder than it has been designed for and will eventually result in a costly breakdown.
It can also lead:
- Poor indoor air quality. Built-up dirt and allergens can be pumped throughout your home and affect the quality of air your family breathing.
This can cause headaches, trigger asthma symptoms, fatigue and breathing difficulties for those who are prone to respiratory problems.
- Decreased comfort. Clogged up air filters can restrict the amount of air coming out of your system.
This means there is less cold air to cool or heat your home.
- Reduced energy efficiency. With your system working harder than it normally does to maintain comfort in your home it means it’s consuming more energy than it would with a clean air filter.
This results in expensive electricity bills.
- Short-cycling. Dirty air filters can cause cycles to become more frequent than they need to be, resulting in wasted energy and uncomfortable temperatures.
- Risk of circulating contaminated air. Dirty air filters can also affect dehumidifiers from functioning properly, allowing for harmful contaminants such as mould and mildew to accumulate and circulate in your home.
How to clean air filters
Before attempting to clean your air conditioners filters, make sure to check the instruction manual for details on how to access and clean the air filters. If you don’t have the manual anymore, you may be able to download a copy from the manufacturer’s website.
How to clean ducted systems filters?
- Unscrew the frame.
- Unhinge the frame and pull towards you. This should expose the air filter.
- Gently slide the filter off the frame.
- Either hose down the filter outside or run it under the tap in your laundry sink until all the dust is removed. You should be able to see through it clearly now.
- Flip the filter and hose down the other side to remove any remaining trapped dust.
- Shake off any excess water and leave outside to dry naturally.
- Once it is completely dry, re-fit the filter into the frame, close it and tighten the screw.
How to clean split systems filters?
- Make sure the power has been turned off.
- Lift the cover on the front of the unit and carefully pull out the filter.
- Check the filter for any signs of damage such as tears or gaps in the mesh. If there is excessive damage it will need to be replaced.
- Fill a sink or tub up with warm water and submerge the filter. Move it around to dislodge any dust and debris caught in the mesh.
- Take out the filter and drain the dirty water. Refill the sink or tub back up with warm water and this time at a splash of washing detergent or vinegar.
- Submerge the filter and allow it to soak for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove the filter and allow it to dry naturally before placing it back into the AC unit.
No time to clean? Get your AC system professionally maintained
We understand not everyone has the time or patience to regularly clean the air filters in their air conditioning systems. Let’s be honest, would you rather spend your weekends cleaning air filters or outside enjoying the good weather?
Consider having your AC system professionally maintained by All Air Services. We’ll send out an expert technician who will:
- Perform routine cleaning and servicing of your air conditioning system, such as sealing leaking ducts on a ducted system.
- Recommend any additional servicing if necessary
- Recommend new parts and replace damaged ones
- Provide you with energy-efficient advice on how to operate your system
- Do all of the above while adhering to Australian Safety Standards.
And most importantly, provide you with an absolute all-year comfort solution for your home and family. Contact All Air Services today.