Cleaning Your Air Conditioning Filters

If you’ve noticed spiking energy bills or poor indoor air quality in your Tallahassee, Florida, home, your air conditioning filter might be to blame. When your air filters get dirty or clogged, it causes a whole array of problems for the house. Check your air filters regularly and clean and replace them when necessary to prevent these issues. 

Why It’s Important

There are a few reasons why you need to clean or replace your air filters. Your air filters exist to prevent dust, dirt, and even bugs from getting blown through your home. Air filters help you avoid poor indoor air quality by keeping the bad stuff out, trapping it into your air filter. Once your air filter gets dirty and clogged, all the clean air has to blow through that dirt and grime, negatively affecting your air quality

A dirty or clogged air filter also can affect the energy usage and the lifespan of your HVAC unit. When the filters get clogged, your HVAC system has to work harder to push the air through your home to maintain proper temperature. This creates more work for your system, requiring more energy. 

When and How Often

There is a debate on when or how often you need to change your air filters, but ultimately it depends on your energy usage and the quality of your air filter. Generally, you need to check your air filters monthly to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced. It’s especially important during the summer when your HVAC system is running full-blast. Some HVAC contractors even recommend checking and cleaning twice a month to optimize your energy savings and your indoor air quality. You don’t necessarily have to change or clean them that often, but at least take a peek to see how they are doing. 

Getting Down and Dirty

If you check your filters and see a lot of residue, then it’s time to clean them or replace them. Start by taking out the air filter and checking it for any holes or tears. Make sure you’ve turned off your unit before removing the air filter. If you see any tears, then replace it entirely instead of trying to clean it. Holes or tears negate the function of the filter by allowing bigger particles to get through. At this point, it isn’t worth trying to save.

If the filter is perfectly intact, and they are washable filters, then get out the vacuum cleaner and use the extension to vacuum off the dirt and dust that has collected on it. Be gentle to make sure you don’t compromise the air filter by creating holes or tears. Once you’ve removed the dirt and dust, soak the filter in water and vinegar. Remove the filters and let them dry without rinsing them. Once your filters are dry, you are ready to go. You cannot clean and re-use regular filters, they must be washable filters to reuse.

Other Considerations

It’s not enough to just clean or change your air filters. To maintain your system, you need to have your unit serviced regularly as well. Ideally, you should schedule preventative maintenance twice a year. Schedule service once before you starting using your heater and once before you crank up your air conditioner for summer.

With a preventative maintenance agreement with your HVAC contractor, you make sure you can schedule those appointments in advance to have your system checked, cleaned, and optimized for energy savings. They will check the filters during the appointment and replace them when necessary. 

The type of air filter you have will also make a difference in how often you need to clean or replace it. If you buy cheap air filters, you will have to replace them more often as opposed to higher-quality air filters. Check the packaging on your air filter to see what the manufacturer recommends. Some recommend changing monthly while others may last over six months. 

If you need a biannual maintenance agreement, we are ready to serve you. Contact Advanced Air Care at 850-688-9265 to schedule your appointment with an experienced professional today. 

Image provided by Shutterstock

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