The air filters of your HVAC system are among the most important parts of your home. That is because the filters are responsible for trapping any harmful particulates, pollutants, and allergens that can enter the home. These substances can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks in the people who are the most vulnerable.
For the air filters to continue working efficiently, they need to be properly maintained. If they are allowed to get dirty and clogged, then that could be worse than not having any air filters at all. Naturally, this only goes for the air filters that can be removed, the disposable air filters need to be replaced, or else the HVAC system will suffer the same problems as one that uses permanent filters. You can find both kinds of filters at Filterking.com.
The Problems Caused By a Dirty Air Filter
The most obvious problem is that the air filter will no longer trap all of the pollutants and allergens, which means that they could escape into the home and cause harm to the people within. Another problem is that a dirty filter could cause an increase in the energy bill.
That is because the fan of the HVAC system has to work harder to push air through the filter if it is clogged. That means the system has to use more energy than normal, which causes an increase in the power bill. You don’t want either of these things to happen, which is why proper air filter maintenance is so important.
The Steps To Taking Care of Your Air Filter
This is an important step because you do not want the system to activate without a filter in it. The reason is that all of the particulates that are supposed to be trapped by the filter will end up spreading throughout the house. It might get a little warm and uncomfortable with the AC off, but it is worth enduring so that no one in the home ends up getting sick.
2. Find the Access Panel
The access panel will usually be located on the first floor somewhere in the home. If you do not know where the panel is located, you can check the main AC unit to see where the main duct of the HVAC system leads. The access panel can be hinged vertically or horizontally, but either way, they are easy to open.
3. Remove The Air Filter
This should be simple because, whether the air filter is disposable or not, it is designed to be easy to remove. Make sure to close the access panel once you have removed the air filter.
4. Clean The Air Filter
You can do this in the shower, sink, or outside in the yard. If you are cleaning the filter in the shower, then it is easier if you have a handheld showerhead. A fixed one will work as well, you just need to hold the filter up towards the shower head, though you might end up getting wet.
Make sure that the water is cold or room temperature, turn on the tap, and thoroughly spray the surface of the filter. The side of the filter that you spray should be the opposite of the one where all the dirt and grime has accumulated. In other words, the water should flow through the filter in the same direction that the air does.
The same rule-of-thumb applies if you are cleaning the filter in the yard, though in that case you will be using a garden hose instead. Whether you clean in the shower or the yard, you should make sure that the water pressure is low to medium because high pressure could push the filter fibers apart. This creates gaps in the filter that allow dangerous particulates to pass through. That negates the function of the filter and means that you will end up having to replace it.
5. Allow The Filter To Air Dry
If you put the filter back while it is still moist, then that could cause ice to form, and if you try to dry it by hand, you might end up damaging it. Let the air completely dry the filter no matter how long it takes. Once the filter is completely dry, put it back inside the access panel, close the panel, and turn the HVAC system on again.
Protect Your Air Filter and it Will Protect You
The importance of the air filter cannot be underestimated, which is why it is so important that you take care of it on a regular basis. On average, the filter should be cleaned at least twice a year. Since cleaning times are so infrequent, it is easy to forget, so make sure to schedule a cleaning session in your calendar to keep your air filter in tip-top shape.
Replacing your AC’s Air Filter Yourself
Since the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been more focused than ever on air quality within their homes and offices, with the thought of trapping and clearing potential virus particles. Regardless, though, changing the filter in your AC is always one of the best jobs you can do for air conditioning maintenance.
If you don’t change your air filter, the part is likely to get clogged and receive more wear and tear over time as a result. It also prevents air from flowing easily through the system. As such, you may want to have a go at this job yourself, to keep as much dust and debris as possible out of your HVAC machine(s). There are a few steps to follow:
- Locate and remove the old air filter on your machine. It may be in the return air duct or the front of the system’s furnace, near the bottom. Read the product instructions or ask your HVAC service tech for help locating this part.
- Always turn off the power before you remove the filter or work on the machine.
- Check the condition of the part you’ve removed to see if you can clean it rather than having to replace it.
- If it’s time for a new part, buy a genuine replacement filter online, from a home-depot store, service technician, or another spot. Ensure you purchase the correct piece for your machine. You’ll likely see the size of the filter you require printed on the side of the current product.
- Dispose of the old filter safely by placing it in a garbage bag and throwing it away in your trash.
- Insert the new filter (or cleaned one) in your HVAC unit. Look for an arrow that indicates the right way to place it in the machine so air flows through the filter correctly. Generally, the arrow points away from the return air duct and towards the air handler mechanism of your unit, in the direction of airflow.