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How to Clean an Air Conditioning Filter

Simplyair >> News From SimplyAir >> How to Clean an Air Conditioning Filter

young repairman changing filter for air conditioner hanging on white brick wall

Knowing how to clean your air conditioning filter can help you save money on energy, improve cooling efficiency, and make breathing easier. Cleaning an air conditioner filter varies depending on the type of system in your home. This article will look at common air conditioner types, cleaning methods, and professional air conditioner cleaning services. Learn about the required maintenance frequency, how long your filter should last, and why it’s essential to clean your filters.

How to Clean a Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner Filter

Cleaning your filters is critical for both heating and cooling if you have a reverse cycle system. Because of their dual functionality, these systems are frequently used and require regular filter cleaning. Reverse cycle air conditioners can be purchased as ducted or split systems for home heating and cooling. In the sections below, we go over the specific cleaning processes for each.

If you’re unsure what type of unit you have, an easy way to tell the difference between a wall hung split system and a ducted system is that split systems will typically have an outdoor unit and one or more interior units mounted on the wall. On the other hand, reverse cycle ducted systems deliver cool or warm air through ducts installed in the ceiling or flooring.

How to Clean Split System Filter

Split-system air conditioners are among the most common air conditioners in Australian homes. While professional cleaning is recommended for any in-depth cleaning, cleaning your air conditioner filter is an excellent way to keep your system running smoothly. Simply do the following to clean a split system air conditioner:

  1. Turn off the split system at the wall.
  2. Remove the front plastic panel from the indoor unit and remove the filter(s). Review the cleaning instructions if you have an air purification/ionising filter. (If the unit is high up, a small step ladder will help you reach it.)
  3. Gently dust the filter with a brush or vacuum dusting brush head to remove any dust and debris. It’s best to do this outside to avoid making a mess.
  4. If the filter is extremely dirty, rinse it in warm water with a mild detergent to remove soap and debris. If you do this, shake off any excess water and let the filter dry naturally before reinstalling it.
  5. Replace the filter in the unit and reattach the front plastic panel once it is completely clean/dry.
  6. You should repeat this process for each split system unit in your home.

Just like that, your filter should be good as new! A clean filter will ensure your split system doesn’t have to work so hard to push fresh cooled air into your home. This process should be repeated every six months, depending on how frequently you use your air conditioner. While regular filter cleaning is highly beneficial, following a professional maintenance and cleaning schedule is also essential.

How to Clean a Ducted Air Conditioner Filter

Cleaning a ducted air conditioner filter in between regular maintenance is easy. You should always refer to your air conditioner/filter manufacturer guide for cleaning advice; however, here are some simple steps for cleaning a ducted air conditioner filter:

  1. Turn off the entire system.
  2. Remove the grille/front panel. To remove this panel, unscrew and unhinge the frame with a screwdriver.
  3. You should be able to access the filter after removing the panel. Remove the filter from the duct with care.
  4. To clean the filter, you can do either of the following (for a thorough clean, do both):
    1. Dust the filter gently with a brush or vacuum dusting brush head to remove any dust and debris THEN/OR
    2. Clean the filter with a hose or laundry sink tap to gently flush away any remaining dust. If you do this, you must shake off any excess water and allow the filter to dry naturally before returning it to the duct.
  5. Once the filter is completely clean/dry, replace it in the duct, reattach the panel, and tighten the screws.
  6. Repeat this process for each return vent filter in your home.

That’s it; you’re finished! Remember to clean the filters every six months to keep your ducted system running smoothly. This time frame may vary depending on the needs of your household, such as allergies or frequent use, but six months is considered standard for a typical residential home.

Professional Air Conditioner Cleaning

A professional maintenance and cleaning service can eliminate the hassle of regular filter cleaning by hiring an expert technician. Hiring a professional not only saves time but also ensures that your system is cleaned and maintained per Australian Safety Standards. Professional cleaning and maintenance services include:

  • Damaged part replacements
  • Operation advice
  • Refrigerant gas level checks
  • Thermostat testing
  • Additional servicing recommendations

SimplyAir recommends getting maintenance every one to two years for residential properties and every six to twelve months for commercial. However, if in doubt, consult the manual for your air conditioning unit to determine how frequently professional cleaning and maintenance are required.

How Often to Clean an Air Conditioner

With various systems and environments to consider, understanding how often you should clean your system can become complex. Whilst filters are generally cleaned every six months, and professional cleaning is done at a minimum yearly, these numbers may vary depending on a few factors:

  • Frequency: how often you use your air conditioner can significantly impact the frequency of cleaning.
  • Environment: the presence of plants or pets can create higher levels of allergens, increasing the need for regular use. Whether your air conditioner is in a residential or commercial environment can impact your cleaning schedule.
  • Season: peak seasons such as summer and winter can impact the usage and require more frequent cleaning.

Residential air conditioning cleaning should be conducted through a professional service every year to three years, depending on the system. Maintenance contracts for commercial units generally require quarterly to yearly cleaning and maintenance.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner Filter

Whilst the lifespan of your air conditioning filter can be significantly improved by regular cleaning; air conditioner filters do still require replacing. Common indicators that it’s time to replace your air conditioner filter:

  1. Dirt on or around the air vents
  2. Energy bills that are up to 5% to 15% higher than usual
  3. A mouldy or musty odour due to growth on the filter
  4. Allergy symptoms worsened as a result of trapped allergens and dust
  5. Filter holes, tears, and/or wrinkles

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to book a maintenance appointment with SimplyAir. You can depend on SimplyAir’s technicians to advise you if it’s time for a filter replacement. Ignoring routine maintenance, cleaning, and filter replacements can harm your system and your health!

Can Air Conditioning Make You Sick?

A well-maintained air conditioning system can improve your home air quality by reducing allergens and dust and creating a more comfortable environment. However, if your air conditioning system is not properly cleaned, it will eventually lose efficiency and affect the health of your household. Not cleaning or maintaining your system impacts the whole household by:

  • Reducing the lifespan of your system – a lack of maintenance and cleaning can lead to a higher turnover rate for your system, resulting in high replacement costs.
  • Decreasing efficiency – reduced efficiency raises your household’s electricity bills and results in slower, less reliable cooling.
  • Poor air quality – dirt and allergens emitted by a dirty system can significantly impact asthma and allergy sufferers, causing headaches and fatigue.

Fortunately, with the assistance of a professional HVAC service provider, maintaining your system is simple. At-home filter cleaning is also a quick process that you or an expert technician can complete. If you’re ever unsure about the best cleaning method for your system, always consult the instruction manual or call your HVAC installation team. SimplyAir offers installation, maintenance, cleaning services, and extensive advice for maintaining your system. If you’d like to get more information on how to take care of your air conditioner or are seeking a professional HVAC technician, contact us today!

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