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How to Clean the Air Filter in Your Air Conditioning System

Regular maintenance for your air conditioner is one of the most important steps to take every year to protect your home comfort and energy bills. The best time to have the maintenance visit done is during the spring; a professional provides a thorough inspection and tune-up for the AC so that it will work at its best throughout the coming hot season.

But there is an important maintenance step you need to take care of on your own during each month of the summer: cleaning the air filter on a regular basis. (Or changing the filter if the air conditioner uses a temporary one.) It only takes about a month for debris to build up in the filter to the point that it will start to restrict airflow into the cabinet. This causes strain on the system, leading to higher bills and less effective cooling.

Here are the steps to take each month to clean the filter:

  • First, find the location of the filter. This can sometimes be a bit tricky, as different systems have it in different spots. Track the return duct to where it enters the AC’s cabinet; the filter may be in a slot located on the intake side of the air handler. If it isn’t there, look inside the house behind the cover of the return air vent.
  • Second, remove the filter and use a vacuum with a hose attachment to suction up the large clumps of dust and lint from it.
  • Third, take the filter outside and use a garden hose to wash it off. Put the hose on low pressure and always direct the spray from the backside of the filter, i.e. the direction that air flows through it. This will help prevent damage to the filter.
  • Fourth, let the filter dry on towel outside. Do not replace it in the air conditioner until it is thoroughly dry.

If you need assistance with your air conditioning system this summer in Fresno, CA, call on Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning. We are able to handle many HVAC jobs that the average HVAC company might not be able to take on.

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