Commercial HVAC Systems: Staying Street Wise

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Tips for Cleaning Your Air Conditioner Filter

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You've probably heard about the benefits of cleaning your AC filter. Namely, a clean filter helps your system run more efficiently and safeguards your home's air quality. However, you may be wondering how to clean your AC filter. Take a look at these tips.


Once you find and locate the filter and your air conditioner, remove it and try vacuuming. First knock the dust into the rubbish bin. You may want to do this outside to minimise the amount of dust that stays in your home.

Once you've removed the majority of the dust, use the brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the filter. Simply run it gently up and down over the filter. Ideally, make sure that your vacuum has a HEPA filter so that it can pick up as much dirt as possible from the AC filter.


If your air conditioner filter has a lot of caked on debris or grease, you may want to try soaking it. Fill up a utility sink or a large bucket with warm water and place the filter in it. You can add a mild dishwashing liquid to help dissolve grease. If your filter has built up odours, you may want to sprinkle some baking soda in the water to help subdue the odours.

Avoiding Damage

Whilst cleaning your air conditioner filter, you need to take some precautions to avoid damage. In particular, don't use a stiff bristle brush to clean the filter. That can potentially rip the metal fibres in the filter and cause it to be less effective.

Also, don't put the filter into the dishwasher. The water is usually too hot, and the strength of the jets may also damage the filter. Always clean it by hand.

Knowing When to Replace

Some filters are designed to be replaced, rather than cleaned. To find out, check your owner's manual, or look online for instructions from your air conditioner's manufacturer. Even if your filter is washable, it may eventually need to be replaced. If you see broken fibres or if you cannot get the filter clean, those are also signs you should replace it.


Finally, after cleaning your filter, make sure to let it dry thoroughly. To speed up drying, prop up your filter in front of a sunny window. Don't put it back into the air conditioner until it is completely dry—excess water drops could lead to damage in your system.