If you’re one of the people who use an air conditioner every now and then during summer, then I’m certain the thought of how to clean air conditioning ac filters has crossed your mind several times. In order for your air conditioner to work as well as it possibly can, you need to make sure that you are taking care of it properly. No matter what type of air conditioner it is that you are using, it is going to be making use of some type of filter. The size of the filter and even the shape can differ depending on the model of your air conditioner, but you should know that cleaning it is going to be important.
When you let your air conditioner go a long time without having its filter cleaned, it will wind up being a detriment to the air quality. It also won’t work as efficiently as it should, causing it to use up more energy while it is cooling your home. If you don’t know how to clean an air conditioner filter, then you may be at a loss for how to proceed. Thankfully, this process is actually fairly simple.
How To Clean Air Conditioning AC Filters
Open the Air Conditioner and Remove the Filter
Before you get started on cleaning, you are going to need to remove the filter from the air conditioner. If you have a window unit, then the filter should be positioned on the side somewhere. Usually, you will be able to slide it right out with minimal effort. The filters on central air conditioning units may work differently, but it shouldn’t be difficult to get to the filter to clean it. You may need a screwdriver to get to the filter, but it won’t take long to do this part.
Locate your filter, and then remove it from the air conditioning unit gently. Once you have it, you will be able to start the cleaning process. You want to handle the air conditioner filter with care so as not to damage it in any way. If you accidentally rip the filter, then you will be forced to buy a new one so that your air conditioner will work.
Inspect the Filter Carefully
Before proceeding, it is smart to inspect the filter to make sure that everything is okay. If it is torn or ripped in any way, then you won’t be able to save it. In this situation, you will have to buy a new filter. You don’t want to waste your time cleaning something that can’t continue to be used, so take the time to look it over.
Most air conditioner filters are sturdy enough that you won’t have to worry too much about them becoming irreparably damaged after several months of use. Even so, it makes sense to check everything out. Once you have determined that all is well, the actual cleaning can begin.
Carefully Vacuum the Filter
Now you can use your vacuum cleaner to carefully vacuum the filter. It should have a certain amount of built-up dirt, dust, and grime on it. The vacuum is going to be able to get rid of this very effectively. You will want to be careful with how you are handling the filter during this process, though.
Try your best to vacuum the dirt and other materials off of the filter without damaging it. A light touch is necessary to avoid puncturing the filter or otherwise damaging it. This actually sounds more difficult than it really is. Just don’t press hard on the filter or use a vacuum cleaner that has incredibly powerful suction capabilities. Something small like a handheld vacuum would work very nicely for this task.
Next, it is going to be time to sanitize the filter. Fill up a large container or basin with vinegar and water. You want the container to be large enough to fully fit the filter that you are trying to sanitize. Also, you need to ensure that the mixture of liquid is 50% water and 50% vinegar. Try to be as accurate as you can with this mixture, as the vinegar is an important component for killing off bacteria and other undesirable things.
You should be able to eliminate allergens and really improve the quality of the filters by doing this. Submerse the air conditioner filter in the water/vinegar mix, and leave it there for a while. The amount of time that you should leave it submerged is going to depend on how dirty the filter is and how long it has been since its last cleaning. Somewhere between one and four hours should be sufficient.
Drain and Dry
After the time is up, you will need to remove the filter from the water. Drain the filter properly to get all of the excess water off of it. You don’t need to rinse the filter in any way, just let the water naturally drain off of your filter. It might be beneficial to place them on some type of cloth to dry. A large bath towel will do nicely, and you should be able to set them somewhere safe to dry for a while.
The drying process may work better if you can place the towel outside. If you have a deck or patio area, then this can work perfectly for letting the filters dry. Drying them inside is fine, too, it just may not go as quickly as it would outside. The sun will be able to aid in drying the filters up faster, so consider putting the filter outside if you are able to do so safely.
The amount of time that it takes to dry can vary depending on several factors. It shouldn’t take too many hours for it to be ready, though. Once everything seems to be completely dry, you will be ready to place it back into your air conditioning unit. Just ensure that it isn’t damp or that it doesn’t have any water on it before proceeding.
Put the Filter Back Into the Air Conditioner
Putting the filter back into the air conditioner shouldn’t be tough after everything you have just done. Carefully handle the filter, and slide it into its slot in the air conditioning unit. If you need to place screws back into the air conditioner for the filter to be secured, then be sure to do that properly. Once you have everything fastened into place, you should be able to turn your air conditioner on and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
You will notice that the air conditioner should be working better over the next several days. It will be more efficient in how it is running, and you will enjoy better air overall. In order to continue to enjoy these benefits, it is a good idea to set up a cleaning schedule for your air filters. Try to do this as often as you can to keep your air conditioner running optimally. You don’t have to do it every week, but twice a month will work well, as long as you can find the time.
Important Reasons to Clean the Filter
To help you further understand why you need to go to the effort of cleaning the filter, you should look at these important reasons to do it. The first is that you will save money on your energy bills every month. Cleaning your filter has the potential to improve the energy efficiency of your unit. This can improve your efficiency by 5% or more, and this will translate to saving.
Prolonging the life of your air conditioner filters is another reason to perform this cleaning. This will help you to avoid having to replace the filters so often. Saving yourself some money is always going to be good motivation.
Those who suffer from allergies will need to breathe in cleaner air so that they can avoid health problems, too. Air conditioners with dirty filters won’t be giving you the best experience, and they can wind up spreading air filled with allergens that can be a hindrance to you. Taking the short amount of time that it takes to clean the filter will help you to avoid this, and you’ll have a much nicer environment.
Replacing Filters Is Also an Option
You should also know that it is an option to go ahead and replace your filter with a new one. This is going to be something that you could do in place of cleaning the filter, but it would be very costly to go this route. It is a good idea to replace the filter after some amount of time, but it is recommended that you clean an air conditioner filter twice a month. Most people are not going to want to replace their air conditioner filters that frequently, so you may want to replace the filters very sparingly.
Many people make the decision to replace the air conditioner filters once a year. Regular cleaning of the air conditioner filter in-between these times will make things as easy as possible for you. You can maintain good air quality and keep your air conditioner running great. It won’t take up too much of your time, either, so never feel intimidated by this process.