Changing Your Air Conditioner Filters

One of the many joys of “Adulting”

Are you are a new homeowner and need to change your air conditioner filters for the first time, or like many people didn’t even know that changing your air conditioner filters was something you needed to do? We’ll lead you through the steps of changing your air conditioner filters.

Once you know what type of replacement filter you need, then you’re ready to start changing the filter! You’ll need to know the length, width, and thickness of your current filter.

Step One: First, you’ll need to locate the filter. Your Air conditioning filters are typically located in one of two places. If you have a return-air register on a wall or hallway ceiling, the filter may be located under the grille. If your HVAC, heating ventilation and air conditioning, system is in a utility closet, the filter will probably be located in the air-handler cabinet. Systems located in basements or attics will usually have a filter rack with a removable door located outside the furnace between the furnace wall and return plenum box.

AC return

Step Two: The next thing to do is make sure your system is turned off. You don’t want it kicking on while you are changing the filter and having it suck in anything while there is no filter in place.

Turn Your Thermostat off

Step Three: Filters in a cabinet or in the return grille, will either require the removal of a few thumb screws, or will have sliding tabs, in order to get to it. If your system has an external filter rack it will generally have a metal door with a handle that will simply pull out. Make sure you keep track of the screws for when it’s time to put everything back together.

When you remove the filter cover, you should clean the grille/cabinet before changing the filter:

For the grille cover, you can use a vacuum attachment to clear any clumps of dust/dirt. Be sure to clean the cover thoroughly, so all of the slots are free of any debris.

For a cabinet cover, simply wipe down the outside with a wet soapy rag. On the inside, there could be substantial dust buildup. Use your vacuum cleaners crevice attachment to make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned.

Step Four: If you are like most people, and your filter changing habits are lacking, then there will be significant dirt/dust/hair and other crud built up on your old filter. When you remove the old filter, carefully place it in a trash bag to prevent any of the built up debris from being spread around your house.

Don’t Track Your Old Dirt Back Through Your House

Step Five: When you are ready to install the new filter, make sure to check for the arrow that indicates which direction the air flow should go. The arrow should be pointing into the return ducting, which will take the air to be cooled/heated to the HVAC system. It is a good idea to write the date you changed the filter somewhere on the filter so if you have a question as to when you changed it last you will know.

Direction of Filter Installation

After you’ve written the date on the filter, put the filter in place and replace the register grille or air-handler cover, remembering to reinstall the thumb screws that hold everything tight.

Replacing your air conditioner filters on a regular basis is the easiest way to extend the life of your HVAC system and ensure optimal performance and efficiency. If you find that your air filter is out of sight, and thus out of mind, we can help. You will remember that it’s time to change your filter when you sign up for our service and have clean filters sent to your door on your selected schedule. If, for whatever reason, you are not up to the task of changing your filters we can help you with that too. You can elect to have us bring the filters to your home and install them for you.

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