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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning and Replacing Your Central AC Filter (DIY-Friendly!)

Keeping your home cool and comfortable in Florida’s heat is no small feat. Your central air conditioning system works tirelessly to make that happen, but just like any machine, it needs regular care to function at its best. One of the easiest and most impactful ways to maintain your AC unit is by cleaning or replacing the air filter.

Why is a Clean Filter Important?

A clogged air filter can restrict airflow to your AC system, forcing it to work harder to cool your home. This can lead to higher energy bills (studies show dirty filters can increase energy consumption by up to 15%!), reduced cooling efficiency, and even potential damage to the unit itself.

Cleaning vs. Replacing: Knowing the Difference

There are two main types of air filters for central AC systems: disposable and washable.

  • Disposable Filters: These are the most common type and are typically made of pleated paper or fiberglass. They trap dust, allergens, and other airborne particles. Disposable filters are inexpensive and should be replaced every 1-3 months, depending on usage and the amount of dust in your home.
  • Washable Filters: These are typically made of a metal mesh and can be reused. They require regular cleaning (every 1-2 months) with a vacuum cleaner and occasional washing with warm water and a mild detergent.

How to Clean Your Washable Air Filter

  1. Turn off your AC system and locate the air filter. It’s usually found in a compartment on the return air grille (often located on a wall or ceiling). Consult your AC unit’s manual for the exact location.
  2. Carefully remove the filter. Be gentle to avoid releasing trapped dust back into the air.
  3. Vacuum the filter thoroughly on both sides using the hose attachment. Focus on removing any visible dust buildup.

For a deeper clean (optional): Wash the filter in a bathtub or sink with warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse well and let it air dry completely before reinstalling it (at least 24 hours).

How to Replace Your Disposable Air Filter

  1. Turn off your AC system and locate the air filter compartment.
  2. Remove the old filter. Note the airflow arrows printed on the frame. You’ll need to install the new filter with the arrows pointing in the same direction.
  3. Write the replacement date on the new filter with a permanent marker. This will help you remember when to change it next.
  4. Insert the new filter ensuring a snug fit but not forcing it.
  5. Close the air filter compartment securely.
  6. Power on your AC system and enjoy the fresh, cool air!

Check our video on Instagram on how to change a Central AC filter.

  • Need help identifying your air filter type or finding the right replacement? Contact the experts at Home AC Inc. We can answer your questions and ensure you get the perfect filter for your system. Give us a call at +1 407 724 5615 or visit our website at homeacinc.com for more information.
  • For peace of mind and optimal AC performance, consider scheduling a professional maintenance check-up. Our technicians can thoroughly clean your entire AC system, including hard-to-reach areas, and ensure it’s running efficiently. Contact Home AC Inc. today!

Remember: A clean air filter is a happy (and efficient) AC system! By following these simple steps, you can keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long while saving money on your energy bill.

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