Your air filter serves a much more critical purpose than simply filtering the air. Although this is its primary goal, it has a far broader impact in the long run. Your air filter should be maintained, cleaned, and replaced regularly to ensure that your system runs at maximum efficiency.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we spend up to 90% of our time indoors on average. That means we spend most of our time breathing air that a cooling or heating system has filtered. Cleaning and maintaining your air filter system will result in not only a more efficient HVAC system but also healthier air for your family, pets, and children.
What Are The Most Common Signs of Dirty Air Filters?
Not only can a clogged air filter make you sick, but clean air has also been linked to improved physical and mental health. There are, however, additional strong reasons to repair a dirty air filter. Here are several common indicators that your air filters should be replaced or cleaned.
- Dirt will be seen on the filter.
- Your house will be dusty.
- You’re experiencing allergic symptoms.
- You detect an unusual odor.
- Your air conditioner is too hot.
- You don’t pass the “white sheet test.”
What To Do If You Have a Dirty Air Filter
When a filter becomes clogged, it compels the air conditioner to work harder to push air through the clogged fibres, consuming more energy and shortening the filter’s lifespan. Furthermore, as detailed at filterbuy.com/resources/5-ways-dirty-air-filters-ruin-your-life/ a dirty air filter is harmful and creates severe effects. As a result, removing it once a month and evaluating it for cleaning or replacement should help to maintain quality, energy efficiency, and health.
You can clean your air filters yourself, but hiring a professional to replace them for you reduces the risk of making a mistake. Check to see whether the filter can be cleaned. For instance, disposable air filters should be replaced, not washed, whereas permanent filters may be washable. Although thick filth may require washing, vacuuming is the simplest way to clean a reusable filter. The steps to getting clean air filters are as follows.
1. Turn The Air Conditioner Off
When cleaning your air conditioner’s filter, make sure it’s turned off. This will allow an influx of unfiltered air into your home, causing dirt and particle matter to gather in your air filter, evaporator coils, and other internal parts.
2. Access Your Filter
Under the hood, you’ll find the air filter housing. The air filter housing is usually a box towards the top of the engine compartment that may be identified. If necessary, use a screwdriver to loosen the air filter housing. The air filter should be taken out. To remove dust and debris from the air filter housing, use a microfiber cloth.
3. Remove The Filter And vacuum It
Typically, the filter will have a significant amount of dust caked on it. The majority of it may be removed with a vacuum with a bristles attachment. This should be done for all of your central air filters, including hidden behind the returns. They’re equally vital. Make sure all sides of your filter are vacuumed.
4. Rinse The Filter For a Deeper Clean
Rinse the filter gently and entirely in a deep sink or outside with your hose before it can dry. If you need to filter a thorough cleaning, soak it for an hour in a flat bin with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part warm water, then gently rinse it with the hose. An air filter should never be cleaned using a pressurized cleaner; they’re far too fragile for any high-pressure hose.
Mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in the filter frame if it appears unclean or feels sticky. Clean the filter with a sponge or soft-bristled brush dipped in the solution. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of any soapy residue.
5. Re-install The Filter
Using paper towels, dry the filter. Allow the filter to dry naturally outside. Before re-installing the filter, make sure it is scorched. Failure to allow the filter to dry completely can result in mould growth, which can spread spores throughout your home via the HVAC system.
Last but not least, replace the filter in its housing. Check to see if the airflow is going in the right direction. Close the vent and tighten any screws or latches that may be present. The filter should be tight and not appear deformed or excessively tiny. Make sure there aren’t any gaps.
Maintain a consistent schedule to keep your airflow fresh. Make a monthly reminder to inspect the condition of the HVAC filter. Clean or replace your HVAC unit’s filter if necessary. Warm areas may necessitate more frequent inspections in the summer, while cold climates may require more winter. Make a routine and stick to it once you’ve figured out your unit’s rhythms so you can breathe easy all year.