change your air conditioner filter

How to Change Your AC Filter, Save Money, and Stay Cool

In the heat of summer, there’s no replacement for working central air conditioning. And since your air conditioner takes such good care of you on the hottest days of the year, it’s only fair you take good care of it. Fortunately, routine HVAC maintenance is relatively simple, and one of the most important tasks is also the easiest — changing your AC filter.  This simple project is cheap, easy, and will help keep your energy costs down as well as extend the life of your HVAC unit.

Protecting Your HVAC Investment

Your AC filter traps dust, pet hair, and other airborne particles traveling through your home and ductwork. As it collects these particles, the airflow is reduced, forcing your air conditioner to work harder. Over time, this can have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of your system, driving up your monthly utility bills. And since the fan is working harder, it’s also wearing out faster and may require maintenance earlier than expected.

But that’s not all — there’s only so much dust and dirt a filter can collect, and when it’s full, more irritating particles float around your home, settle on your furniture, and enter your lungs. With a clogged filter, these particles can even find their way into the motor and other parts of your HVAC unit, where they can accumulate and affect sensitive components.

How to Keep Your Filter Clean

The exact location and procedure for changing the AC filter varies from one model to the next, so you should read your manufacturer’s instructions before changing your own. Typically, AC filters are installed near the fan motor or cold air return vent. You’ll likely need to remove a grate to access the filter. like the ceiling one shown in the banner image at the top of this post.

comparing clean AC filter to dirty AC filterWhen installing a clean filter, it’s also important to install it facing the right direction. Most filters have arrows on the side to indicate the direction of airflow.

Disposable vs Reusable AC Filters

Most disposable AC filters need to be replaced on a monthly basis. Some filters are designed to last as long as three months, allowing you to cut back on maintenance and waste. However, these filters tend to be more expensive, and they may be a poor choice for homes with lots of pet dander or dust.

Reusable filters can be cleaned with either a garden hose or a vacuum cleaner, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. When using water to clean a reusable filter, be sure to direct the flow of water in the opposite direction of the airflow so that you don’t drive dust deeper into the filter (remember those arrows?).

If you need help locating or replacing your filter try Googling your AC unit’s brand and model number plus “air filter”. Or, if you need advice about which type of filter is best for your home, try getting in contact with One Hour Heating & Air at 800-574-1725 or through their contact form here.

And remember, if your HVAC unit is working properly because you changed your AC filter correctly, you’re using less energy too cool your home and run your air conditioner, which can certainly help reduce the size of your home energy bill.

About 

Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Adam P. Newton never acquired the charming accent that most life-long Texans possess in spades, but he’s OK with that. Adam currently creates and curates online content for Direct Energy. Before his career in content marketing, Adam spent several years toiling as a freelance music journalist.

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