The air filter of an air conditioner is designed to block the entry of dust and debris, and allow the entry of only clean air. The AC filter must be replaced once it becomes clogged with dust and other pollutants. You should check the air filter more often during the summer months when the AC runs around the clock. Failing to change this filter on time can mean high energy bills, repair works, and decreased the lifespan of the air conditioner. Keeping the air filter clean is the easiest and cheapest way to ensure optimum performance of your AC.
Changing the AC filter is quite easy if you know how to do it properly.
The Guide to Replacing the AC Air Filter
First, find the filter. It is usually located near the thermostat. You will find an air vent near the thermostat. The vent will be covered with a grille. The filter is placed behind this grille. Usually, this is where the filter is located in most ductwork type air conditioning systems but if you do not find it here, then your air conditioner model may have the air filter closer to the cooling system and not at the air vent opening.
The Next Step after Finding the Air Vent
The AC filter is generally located behind the cover that covers the air vent. Take out this cover grille after loosening its fasteners, and you will see the filter. Pull the filter out and check its condition. If the filter is full of dust and debris, it is time to replace it. If it still looks whitish, then it is not in immediate need of replacement, and you can leave it for some more time.
To replace the old air filter with a new one, first, remove the old filter from its place. Now take hold of the new air filter. You will see arrow images on its sides. The arrows indicate how to place it correctly at the air vent opening. The arrows should be pointing toward the duct and not toward you. To place this filter at the duct opening, first settle its lower part in the opening and then push its topside to fit the whole filter in its slot. Now place the cover back and tighten the fasteners.
The AC air filter replacement job is complete. Removing the dirty, clogged air filter is necessary if you want to ensure entry of only clean air inside the air conditioning system. If you face humidity issues inside your home even after installing a new AC air filter, you may have to install a whole-house humidifier.
What Type of Filter Is Best for Your Air Conditioning System?
There are different types of filters for the same air conditioner system. The efficiency varies depending on the quality of the filters and the materials used to make them. The MERV or minimum efficiency report value is the industry standard to define the efficiency of air conditioner air filters. Residential air conditioner filters generally have 1-12 rating. A higher rating indicates higher efficiency in removing the dust, particles, debris, and bacteria from the incoming air.
- A rating of 1-4 indicates the AC filter will remove only 20 percent of the air pollutants.
- A rating of 5-8 means the filter can remove 20-35 percent of the air pollutants.
- A rating of 9-12 indicates the filter can remove 50-90 percent of the air pollutants.
The MERV rating best for your air conditioning system depends on what type of HVAC you have and your specific indoor air quality requirements. You should choose a higher efficiency rated filter if anyone at your home has a health issue that gets aggravated if the dust level is high in the indoor air.
Contact a professional HVAC expert if you are unable to determine the right air filter rating for your AC system. Never install a filter that is not designed for your type of AC. Read your HVAC’s owner manual to learn what type of filter you have to use for it.
When Should You Replace Your AC Air Filter?
Most AC experts advise replacing it every three months. However, it depends on the air quality of the area where your home is located and how much the AC is used. You have to replace the air filter of your AC more frequently if your house is located in an area where the air is quite dusty. Install a higher efficiency filter if anyone at your home suffers from a respiratory health problem. It is a good idea to check your AC’s air filter once every month and replace it when required.