Serving Lancaster and the Surrounding Areas
Call Us! 717.207.9952

How Do I Clean an AC Filter?

Why do AC units have filters?

AC filters are designed to catch dust particles and other irritants to improve the air quality in your home. After constant use, these filters will become covered in the particles they are collecting. This will impede airflow and cause your system to work harder, while also being less effective at filtering air moving forward.

The solution to this problem is to clean your air filters (or purchase new ones if they’re not reusable). And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this blog!

cleaning filter in ac unit

The Steps to Cleaning Your AC Filter

Step 1: Finding the Filter

In order to clean your air filters, you need to know where they’re located. First, shut off your cooling system and allow it to power down. Now you can remove the filter.

  • Forced Air - The filters are located behind the return vents. These can be found either on the ceiling or on the floor. Larger homes will have multiple return vents and therefore, multiple air filters.
  • Ductless Mini-Split - The filters are located within each mini-split system. Open up the front of the system and the filter will be right in front of you!
  • Window Unit - The filters are also located within each window unit, just like the mini-split system. (However, we recommend upgrading from a window unit to the mini-split or forced air system as they are more efficient ways to cool your home.)

Step 2: Removing the Dust

When you remove the filter from its housing, you’re going to see all of the dust attached to it. The longer you wait to clean your filters, the dirtier and more grey-looking it will be.

Remove the dust via a handheld vacuum with the bristled attachment. This should remove all of the largest particles with a few pass-throughs of the vacuum.

(For those that use disposable AC filters, simply throw out the old, dirty one and replace it with a brand new one.)

Step 3: Wash It Out

Once you’ve vacuumed as much dust as you can from the filter, it’s time to wash it out. Place the filter underneath a sink faucet or outside underneath the hose. Rinse the filter thoroughly until all dark spots have been removed.

Let the air filter dry thoroughly before reinstalling it back in your HVAC system. Otherwise, it can be prone to mold growth within the next few days. Simply lean it against a wall or fixture for a few hours, checking on its dampness every few hours until it’s fully dry.

Step 4: Reinstall & Repeat

Once dried, simply reinstall the air filter back into your HVAC system.

That’s it, you’re done!

Just remember that this should be done routinely — once per month is the perfect amount of time. A monthly schedule will keep your air clean and your HVAC system working in an efficient manner.

Cleaning your air filter is the easiest maintenance you can provide to your HVAC system — and a little maintenance goes a long way!

If your HVAC system is still underperforming after an air filter cleaning or change, make sure you give us a call. There might be a repair that needs to be made in order for you to enjoy cool air at a cool price!