The Why’s and How’s of Changing Your AC Filter
Changing your air conditioning’s filter is a great way to improve performance and increase the lifespan of your air conditioner. Knowing why and how it needs to be done is the first step towards maintaining a comfortable environment in your home.
Why You Should Change Your AC Filter
Originally, air conditioning filters were designed to keep foreign objects, like falling tree branches, out of the air conditioning unit. Now air conditioning filters are designed to keep out dust and other allergens from your home’s air. Dirty filters can greatly reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning. You should install a new filter every month during the warmer months. Dust can cause your air conditioning unit to lose up to 30% of its normal airflow. In addition, indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. Air conditioning filters that are old can cause your home to have a higher risk of allergens, dust mites, viruses, and other nasty things.
How to Change Your AC Filter
- In air conditioners, there are two paths for air to travel: supply air and return air. Locate which duct has the returning air-the air that is pulled into the unit from the house. Your air conditioning filter will always be located in this duct. To be certain the filter needs changing, place your hand against the metal filter cover. If you feel the air pulling strongly, your filter is fine and will not need to be changed. However, if you feel a very weak suction or none at all, your air conditioning needs a new filter.
- Before performing any work on your air conditioning unit, it is imperative you shut off the unit. There are three ways to do this: use the switch near the furnace, turn up the thermostat so that the air conditioning will not be triggered, or the power breaker. Safety is key when changing your air conditioning and it prevents the entrapment of dust into the air conditioning unit.
- Decide which is the correct filter size by finding the numbered label in the air filter side. For example, it might say 10 x 20 x 1, or 16 x 25 x 1. If there is no number, measure the air filter’s area and find air filters closest to the measurement. Make sure to use the correct size because otherwise, your AC will perform as if there is no air filter. This can cause exorbitant amounts of dust and allergens to become trapped in your air conditioning.
- Remove the old AC filter. Be careful when you do this step because you don’t want to accidentally drop dust into the AC. Clean away any dust from parts in the area.
- As mentioned earlier, air conditioning filters have developed new technologies to help make your home free of nasty air problems. Filters are available to trap dust mites, pollen, tobacco smoke, and mold spores. Choose the one that’s best for your home!r
- When installing your new air filter, pay attention to arrows in the air filter frame. These indicate airflow. I.e, if the airflow arrow goes to the right, make sure the air filter arrow does so as well.
- Make sure the filters fit properly so there are no leaks. If there are small gaps around the edges, you can cover them with cloth or tape.
Turn your AC back on and enjoy the coolness!