How to change central AC filter? 

How to change central AC filter? 

How to change central AC filter to boost its efficiency? You can either it yourself or check our Air Conditioning Services.

AC filters are the first line of defense in cleaning air through the furnace’s filter for heating and cooling.

When your AC filters are clogged, dust, dirt and grime enter the unit, damaging the unit and the components.

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Also, the clogged filter obstructs the free flow of air through your central system (1).

So, a fundamental task of air conditioner filter change has multiple advantages.

It helps you to save energy costs, prolong your AC’s lifespan, and, more importantly, keep your home’s air fresh, clean and free of irritants and dust.

But is that it? No, we’ve got more of it.

Let’s understand things in detail.

Why do you need to change central AC filter? 

First, we need to understand why we need to change the filters.

Well, the job of an AC filter is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment.

A filter lasts approximately one to six months, depending on the filter.

AC filters have gotten a lot of importance and attention due to the pandemic. Some experts suggest using higher-efficiency filters to trap virus particles.

When your old filter gets clogged, it causes wear and tears on the AC parts. The clogged filter also prevents enough airflow through the HVAC unit. It reduces the central air system’s performance, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality.

Neglecting the thought of changing the dirty filter is easy, but it is crucial to change the filter to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Improved indoor air quality: Good HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air filters) trap contaminants that make their way into the ductwork, giving cleaner air to your surroundings.
  • Lower energy bills: Replacing the clogged filters allows ample airflow with efficiency. And better efficiency results in lower energy bills.
  • Better impact on the environment: Changing the clogged filters regularly and frequently is one way to move towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. Regular ac maintenance and a new filter can cool your home with less energy. The same applies to heating maintenance
  • Longer equipment life: A clean filter promotes ideal airflow and prevents the HVAC unit from overworking. It helps the equipment to last longer than everyday life.

How to change an air filter? 

To keep your central air conditioning system running smoothly and efficiently, follow the below-mentioned easy steps:

Locate the filter 

Air conditioning filter replacement is a quick and easy task. The only tricky part is to locate the AC filter because it could be at several places.

The filters are in the return air duct in the air conditioning unit that pulls air from your space back into the air conditioner’s air handler system. Finding the filters can be challenging for an extensive system with multiple air handlers and return ducts.

If both heating and AC systems share the same ducts, the air filters might be in or near the blower system for the furnace. It is usually located in the front of the furnace near the bottom. You might have to open a metal panel attached using hooks or screws.

The best way is to ask your HVAC service tech. Just let them know if you want to learn how to change the AC filter. They will show you where the filter is located and how to remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. They will also help you to get suitable filters for your system.

Use the correct replacement filter 

Another tricky part is making sure you use suitable filters. The filter size is usually printed on the side of the filter.

Invest in HEPA filters with a higher MERV rating (minimum efficiency reporting value rating). These filters will do more than keep dust out of your air conditioner. It will improve air quality in your space by removing pollen, pet dander, mold, debris, and other harmful contaminants.

When in doubt, consult an HVAC expert before purchasing higher efficiency filters for your system.

Steps to replace your air filter 

The first and foremost step is to wear a mask and gloves. They protect against any virus particles that might be present within the ducts and filters.

Turn off the power switch. 

The first step towards changing your air filters is turning the power switch off. It is essential for two reasons. First, your safety. It is risky touching live voltage! Second is the safety of your equipment. While removing your clogged filter, dust and debris can get sucked into the system if the AC unit is still running. So, it is essential to switch off the power at the unit and the circuit breaker.

Remove the old filter

Slide out the old filter of the slot that holds it in place.

Check the condition 

Once you’ve taken out the old AC filter, check its condition. If it is blocked and clogged with dirt and dust, you can’t see much light coming through when you hold it up against the light. This clogged filter needs to be replaced or cleaned. However, it also depends on your style and type of filter.

Manufacturers recommend replacing the filters even if used less than the mentioned time. Factors like region and weather can shorten the lifespan of an air filter.

Dispose of the old filters safely 

It is necessary to dispose of the old filters properly. Otherwise, the contaminants might come in contact with your house or family. Place the dirty filter inside a plastic bag and throw it away in the trash outside your space.

Clean the filter 

There are two types of filters: disposable filters and reusable filters. A disposable filter has a cardboard frame and a paper or fiber mesh surface.

It is washable if you use a more permanent and reusable filter with a sturdy metal frame and a special coating. Please check the manufacturer’s instructions for washing if you are cleaning a reusable one. You need to rinse the filter with water and let it dry or, in some cases, vacuum away the dust.

Insert the new or cleaned filter

The last and final step is to put back the filter in the right way. An arrow on the filter’s frame shows you how the air should flow through the filter. The arrow is always away from the return air duct and toward the air handler mechanism. Ensure the arrow points away from the return and toward the air handler.

How often should you change your central ac filter? 

The consistency of changing your filter depends on how often you use your air conditioner and what type of filter you use. When your air conditioners work extra hard in the summer, you might want to change the dirty filters more frequently.

Usually, it would help if you changed the cheaper fiberglass filters every 30 days. It would be best if you changed the higher-quality filters every 60 to 90 days.

If your filters and vents look filthy, it is time to change them. A few other signs which tell you to change the filters are – loss of cooling power in your AC system, straining sounds upon start-up, or if your air conditioner takes longer to cool the house to the required temperature.

How long do the filters last? 

The average lifespan of a filter depends on the type of filter used. It ranges from one to six months. You should replace the filter at least two times a year, if not more.

You can discuss your options with an HVAC tech contractor to identify what will work best for your home and central air system.

Step up your HVAC maintenance 

It is essential and crucial to have a regular HVAC service set up. It is possible that till now, you have been neglecting essential maintenance tasks besides AC filters. Regular maintenance keeps your system in top-notch working condition. As a result, the equipment will last longer and work more efficiently than expected. As discussed, it will mean less electricity usage, fewer ac repair costs, and an extended life span.

In the long run, investing in a preventive maintenance agreement is beneficial to get the most from your HVAC equipment. The entire investment pays off in terms of lower operating costs and more reliable comfort. Also, you can get your agreement customized to your specific needs, equipment, and budget.

FAQs

Here are some of the questions people usually ask:

How to change central AC filter FAQ#1: Where is the filter located on a central air conditioner?

The filters are located in the return air duct in the air conditioning unit that pulls air from your space back into the air conditioner’s air handler system.

If both heating and AC systems share the same ducts, the air filters might be in or near the blower system for the furnace. It is usually located in the front of the furnace near the bottom.

How to change central AC filter FAQ#2: How do I change the air filter in my house’s central air?

  • Locate the filter
  • Turn off the power switch
  • Remove the old filter
  • Check the condition
  • Dispose of the old filter safely
  • Clean the filter or use the correct replacement filter
  • Insert the new or cleaned filter

How to change central AC filter FAQ#3: How often should you change the filter on your central air conditioner?

The regularity or frequency of changing your filter depends on how often you use your air conditioner and what type of filter you use. Usually, it would be best if you changed the cheaper fiberglass filters every 30 days. You should change the higher quality filters every 60 to 90 days.

How to change central AC filter FAQ#4: Does all central AC Have filters?

All central cooling and heating unit systems must and should have an air filter, but it sometimes gets tricky to locate them.

So, to help you out, these filters are usually located in the return air duct or blower compartment before the air reaches the air handler.

Also, read

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