Changing Air Conditioner Filters

Learn about the importance of cleaning and replacing air conditioner filters. There are DIY instructions to help AC unit owners complete this task easily.

The purpose of the air conditioner filter is to protect parts from particles especially the smallest ones that can cause severe damage to the appliance. When you talk about filters, it is important to understand the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV. This is an efficiency ratio to establish the capacity of filters to filter dust, dirt and fragments. The MERV (between 1 and 16 for residential applications) measures the performance of AC filters. It is said that the capacity of air filtration is more effective if the rating is higher. Passing marks for residences are between seven and 13. MERV-rated filters guarantee an average life span, enhanced energy efficiency, quiet fan operation, and minimal restriction of air flow.

Air Conditioning Filters

  • Standard filters are usually made of polyester polymers or fiber glass and meant to clean indoor parts. It is a device with a flat surface and frame made of cardboard.
  • Pleated air filters have more exterior areas. These strainers are effective in the removal of particles that range from five to 10 microns. The folded variety is more efficient compared to the media air type. It can prevent entry of pollen 10 microns and above.
  • Electrostatic air filters have been designed with polyester and polypropylene. It utilizes filter media which conducts electrical charge (positive or negative) on particles that pass through the equipment. Once airborne particles become charged, these are attracted to the layer that collects opposite charges. The static charge is created by air movement through Electrostatic filters. It is self-generated and does not require electricity. These differ from the standard disposable product with four or even more layers depending on the manufacturer’s design.
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA can eliminate as much as 99.97 percent of mold, bacteria and pollen of 0.3 microns or micro meters. However, these are not intended for air conditioner units in the home. It is meant for hospital operating rooms, chemical companies, food industry, and residential air cleaners. HEPA filters were created by the United States Atomic Energy Commission during the Second World War. The purpose then was to remove and capture radioactive elements that can harm the environment. After the war, the product was made available for commercial use.

Air Conditioner Filter Replacement

Replacing AC filters at least every month can improve the performance of your evaporator and the whole unit as well. This part absorbs heat while the condensing unit eliminates outdoor heat. Once the evaporator coil gets dirty, the dust turns out as the insulator and prevents the evaporator from taking up the heat that it can manage. Dirty filters will damage compressors. There is even a possibility that the blower may pull in the entire filter into the duct of your unit. This will bring about a major problem if the filter is not replaced.

What are the steps in removing and replacing the filter?


  • Find out where it is located which is in the air return duct. The tube draws the air from the interior of the house. Put your finger on the metal strip cover and see if the filter is there. Otherwise, it may be close to the furnace.
  • Turn off the switch. It can be near the furnace, power breaker or thermostat. Aside from being a safety precaution, it prevents the dust from getting into the unit itself.
  • Buy the correct dimensions. Look for the number label which is similar to 21x21x1. Measure the filter in case you cannot see any numbers. Putting in the wrong component is the same as an air conditioner without any filter.
  • You ought to keep in mind that filters come in several types. There are more economical units or high-grade products that can catch even minute smidgens or prevent substances that cause allergies from going through the air systems in your house. The electrostatic version is generally more expensive. It should be cleaned using water and dried completely before being re-installed.
  • Slide the filter in the same manner that you took it out. See to it that the contrivance is in the compartment with the right side facing outwards. Follow the directions that are printed on the package. Such sides are marked air in and air out. Replace the cover that you removed in gaining access to the compartment.
  • In case you detached screws, replace these tightly to keep away unwanted rubbish inside the compartment of the filter.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

It is important to ensure proper maintenance for your air conditioning units. At times, the amount of refrigerant does not match with directions made by the manufacturer or provisions in the owner’s manual. The refrigerant should be charged properly or else the efficiency and performance of the air conditioner is weakened. Be careful in choosing your technician. One who does not have the experience may not be capable of addressing these issues and cause more problems for you.

Regular maintenance is required for any air conditioning unit. If this is not enforced, you can expect a continuous degeneration of its components along with the entire unit. The fans and compressor will most likely be the parts to deteriorate quickly. It is essential to watch out for several issues to prevent the deterioration of your home air conditioning. Pay attention to possible leakage of the refrigerant. You get optimal performance if the charge corresponds with the specifications of the manufacturer. Remember that the unit must not be under or over-charged.

Be wary of the breakdown of electrical controls. Fan controls and compressors deteriorate rapidly due to the frequent turning on and off. Corroded wires and terminals are also frequent air conditioner problems. Make it a habit to clean the filters or replace defective parts. The efficiency of your appliance is hampered if these filters are filthy and clogged. Normal air circulation is prevented and cool air is restricted. The dirt can also be conveyed directly to the evaporator coil and spoil its capability to absorb heat.

As mentioned earlier, filters are located in the unit, furnace, walls and ceilings. These should be cleaned every month during the cooling season. In the same manner, evaporator and condenser coils accumulate dirt in the process of daily operations of air conditioning units. The evaporator coil must be inspected at least once every year and cleaned as needed. External condenser coils should also be subject to regular cleaning. Remove all leaves and rubbish that gather around the metal fins. There is a tool called fin comb that can bring back twisted fins into their original shape.

Air Conditioning Repair


Repair of these appliances are quite expensive so you also have to save money for any eventuality. What should you watch out for? Uncontrolled seepage of gas hampers the efficiency of the unit substantially. The refrigeration chemical causes the compressor to get cooled. Even a low concentration of gas can cause this mechanical contraption to overheat and ultimately stop working. If this occurs, the only solution is complete replacement of the component which can be very costly. Low levels of gas can also be the reason for the evaporator coil to unfreeze, restart and then ice over once more. This cycle is unproductive and will call for repairs as well. Aside from these restoration jobs, frequent checkups are needed for all air conditioners. This will give the mechanic the chance to scrutinize essential part such as filters, condenser, evaporator, thermostat and motor components. Also, the electrical connections can be tested by this expert along with the refrigeration levels.

The condenser of this appliance is vital to the effective operation of the unit. There should be no obstruction to the condensing mechanism to ensure that it can draw enough air efficiently from the outside. This household appliance is just like a human being. It should be able to breathe sufficient air to continue surviving. While maintenance services will have to do the repairs and maintenance, you also have to learn quick trouble-shooting. You have to learn how to test the filters if there are no objects blocking the passageways. You can use the vacuum cleaner to get the dust out or unclog filters. The next step is to wash the strainer with a household solution of soap and warm water.

However, certain filters are disposable and need prompt replacement as soon as these are destroyed. You can change filters and check the other controls of the air conditioning unit. It is also imperative to clean the unit on a regular basis. This will guarantee maximum efficiency. Yet, refrain from using the ordinary hose and water for cleaning purposes. This may cause electric shock and short-circuit or failure of electrical parts.

These can be expected once the unit is doused with water. Finally, check the internet for efficient and reputable contractors who clean and carry out affordable repair services. You may also inquire from manufactures or suppliers of home appliances. Never entrust your appliances to amateurs since this will only lead to more technical problems. Naturally, you will be forced to spend more or even run the risk of losing your still reliable unit.

HVAC Appliances

Household appliances are among the most valuable commodities that you need to live a normal life in the 21st century. Some of the appliances that ordinary families cannot do without in this modern world include refrigerators, microwave ovens, stoves, ovens, washing machines, dish washers, washing machines, water heaters, and Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Homeowners need to maintain their appliances properly to avoid any unnecessary breakdowns. It is imperative to look for competent technicians in case of unforeseen malfunctions.

It is possible for you to do DIY repairs provided the defects are considered minor and you have the proper tools to conduct trouble-shooting functions. It is one way of economizing because repair companies usually charge expensive fees. However, you may need professional service providers if the damage is quite extensive and requires professional skills. Hiring a reputable and experienced repair company may be a more cost-effective alternative for smart homeowners.

What should be your criteria in looking for reliable utility firms? Technicians are believed to be adept and practiced in multiple disciplines such as electronics, programming, or electrical circuits. Technicians will have to deal with circuit boards, thermostats, coils, transformers and other technical concerns.

Responsibility of Service Providers

Air Conditioner Filters

Appliances have different designs and components which are frequently very complicated so the technician should have first-hand knowledge about common problems and quick remedies. Appliance repair is a complex task so you cannot leave this to amateurs or inexperienced persons. This is the only way that you can expect satisfactory results. Respectable repair facilities must also be bonded and insured. This will serve as a guarantee for customers that any damages and replacement costs will be the responsibility of the repair company. In other words, the company of good standing must be capable of providing warranties and emergency response any time of the day.

You can check out the background of this service provider by checking their websites of verifying credentials through the Better Business Bureau, local chamber of commerce, local newspapers, and professional organizations. Try to get testimonials from previous clients as well as reviews posted online by concerned consumers. Finally, get the advice of relatives, colleagues at work and personal friends regarding the quality of work of these companies. Homeowners have to be sure that these entities or individuals offering appliance repair services can be relied on to provide the best service that you need.


A lot of air conditioning repair companies offer good packages for consumers. Service check usually includes cleaning coils of condensing unit coils; checking the compressor; greasing fan motors; looking at the belts; inspecting operating pressures; and, keeping track of temperatures as against manufacturers specifications. One of the essential items that you need to test out is the coolant level of the air conditioner. A unit which is 10% low on coolant will need double that amount for operations. It means that you will spend more for maintenance and repair expenses.