You’re Probably Overdue | When and How to Change Your Air Conditioner’s Air Filter

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Last week we talked about keeping your dryer hot, so this week we’re sticking with the theme of keeping things cool.  With the height of summer upon us, an air conditioner is often the way most of us try to beat the heat.  But, much like cleaning the lint screen  in a dryer, there’s something we all have a tendency to forget: changing the air filter

If you can’t remember the last time you changed your air filter, chances are you’re probably overdue.  It’s easy to forget, especially  if you only get your air conditioner out of storage for the summer months.

In general, you should be changing (or cleaning if you have a washable filter) your air filter at least every three months.  That being said, this will vary from home to home.  You should change it more frequently if you have pets, allergies,  or multiple people living in your home.

That may sound a bit excessive, but the air filter is important.  It keeps dirt, dust, and debris from building up in your air conditioner and the air in your home.  Last time we checked, no one is a fan of dirty air.

The good thing is, remembering to change the filter is the hardest part of the process.  Here is a quick and easy step-by-step on how to change your room air conditioner air filter:

*Warning: Before starting any repair or maintenance, make sure the appliance is completely disconnected from the power source by unplugging the appliance. 

1. Find the Filter on your Air Conditioner

The location of your filter will vary depending on the manufacturer or model, but you’ll usually find it near the fan motor  or behind an access panel/cover .  If you’re having trouble finding your filter, check your owner’s manual for help.

2. Remove the Old Filter

For some models, there may be a strip screwed in to keep the filter in place.  Remove the screws and set them aside so you can replace them after changing out the filter.  Gently remove the old filter.

3. Find your Filter Size and Choose your Filter Type

If you can’t remember your filter size and can’t locate a part or model number,  simply measure the dimensions of your old filter.  Depending on your home’s needs, you can select different filter types or grades such as Fiberglass, Pleated, High Efficiency, Electrostatic (reusable),  or True HEPA filters.  Each type has a different MERV rating that scores how well they filter particles.

4. Insert the New Filter

Follow the manufacturer instructions and make sure the right side of the filter is facing out.  This will usually be labeled to make things easier.

5. Replace the Filter Cover

Replace any screws you had to remove and make sure the panel/cover is secure to keep out excess debris.

And that’s it!  The process is quick and easy.  Changing your filter regularly will keep your air conditioner running better, help avoid expensive repairs, and potentially cut down on your energy costs to keep you cool and comfortable.

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