Do you know much about your HVAC system? If you have central air conditioning, you have an air filter in place that traps contaminants as air passes through the ductwork. Do you understand the reasoning behind changing the filter? Do you even know where to find it? Use this guide to help you get more from your air conditioner this summer by changing the air filter.
Reasons to Change the Air Filter
It’s easy to neglect something you never see or give a second thought to, but it’s important to change the filter in order to enjoy the following benefits:
- Better indoor air quality: A filter traps airborne contaminants that make their way through the ductwork, leaving cleaner air to circulate back into your home.
- Longer equipment life: A clean filter promotes ideal airflow and prevents the equipment from overworking itself. This helps the equipment last longer.
- Lower energy bills: Ample airflow is important for home comfort and energy efficiency. Of course, better efficiency directly results in lower energy bills.
- Smaller impact on the environment: Anything you can do to cool your home with less energy takes you one step in the eco-friendly direction. Changing the air filter regularly is one way to accomplish this.
Where to Find the Air Filter
Knowing the importance of changing the air filter is one thing, but you must find it before you can get the job done. Most times, the filter is located on the side of the air handler, a piece of equipment the air conditioner and furnace use to circulate conditioned air around your home. It should be easy to spot the slot where the filter is inserted. It’s less common, but sometimes the filter is located in an air vent somewhere in your home. If this is the case, you may need to contact a professional for help.
Changing the Air Filter
It’s important to understand that some air filters can be cleaned and reused. Others are disposable and won’t work well if you attempt to clean and reuse them. If you have a disposable filter, plan to replace it every one to three months, or when it begins to become clogged with dust and debris, whichever comes first. The manufacturer’s instructions can provide specific guidance for your system, but the following steps are generally accurate for all systems.
- Turn off the air conditioner: To prevent electric shock or allow air to pass through the ductwork without being filtered, turn off the air conditioner before replacing the filter.
- Remove the old filter: Do this slowly and pay attention to the orientation of the old filter in its slot.
- Identify the air conditioner filter size: A number or size should be printed on the edge of the existing filter. The replacement filter needs to be an exact match in order to fit correctly.
- Buy a replacement filter: Jot down the filter size or even take the old filter with you to a local home improvement or hardware store. Some department stores sell the most common filter sizes as well. Decrease the hassle of changing the air filter by stocking up on a few spares to have on hand in the coming months.
- Insert the new filter: Make sure the arrows point the correct way when you insert the filter. Proper airflow requires that the filter be oriented correctly.
Changing the air conditioner filter should be fairly straightforward. However, if your filter is located in a tricky spot, or you have other HVAC-related questions, feel free to contact us at Aire Serv® today.