Photo by Danny Feng
Originally Posted On: https://www.howtodothings.com/home-garden/how-to-replace-an-ac-filter-5-steps-to-success
Air conditioning is now in more than 100 million homes.
For many of us, that means we have a central heat and air system in our home. Taking care of your HVAC system is important and could prevent you from suffering an expensive repair later down the road. One of the key things you need to know is how to replace AC filters.
The air filter on your AC will become dirty as you use it. This is because the air that it pulls in is from inside your home. That means any dust, pet dander, or other types of contaminants that are present in your home get into the filter. The filter is what makes sure that you aren’t breathing in dust and debris.
How to Replace AC Filter
Replacing a filter is easy and won’t take you long after the first time. You should be conducting an AC filter replacement on a regular basis. This will keep your AC alive longer. Here are five steps for you to replace your AC filter.
1. Find Your Filter
The first step in how to replace AC air filters is to find where your air filter is located. If your home has a basement, there is a good chance that is where you should start. For others, like those who live in apartments, it is often in a utility closet or room.
There are two basic ways of filtering return air in an AC. One way is to have the filter inside the AC unit or near it. This means you will be replacing the filter on the AC unit itself. The other most popular way of replacing filters is in the return air vent. This vent will be a large, noticeable vent inside your home.
Often you will find this vent near your thermostat. It can be either near the ceiling or the floor.
2. Buy the Right Kind of Filter
Once you know where your filter is, you can remove it and measure it. Most filters will also have the size they are printed on the filter itself. Either way, you must have the right filter for the job. This can save you a lot of headaches or repeated trips to the store.
One of the best ways to make sure you have the filters you need on hand is to use an online source. Filter Buy is an excellent resource because filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come at different costs depending on the quality, so using a place that focuses on selling filters is a good idea.
During the course of a year, you should go through at least four filters. That is the bare minimum if you are only changing the filter every season. For most houses, and most environments, you may be changing them every month. Depending on your situation, make sure that you have extra ready to go.
3. Open the Vent/Cover
In many systems, this will only require your fingers, but you may want pliers if the fasteners are tight. You need to loosen them, and often this will cause the vent to open, or the cover to be removable. Some are even easier, requiring only that you lift a gate that slides up and down to hold in the filter.
With some systems, you will have to have a screwdriver or even a ratchet. Once you figure out what your situation is, make sure to have the tools you need on hand. It will make the process much smoother and easier for you to do.
4. Remove/Replace the Filter
It is possible to check the condition of your filter before you replace it. There are signs that a filter needs replaced, and if you are having any of them, it is best to replace it. Otherwise, you will want to check to see if the filter is dirty.
To remove the filter, you simply have to grab it and pull it out. That can be towards you in the case of some vents, and some will come out parallel to you. Whichever way you have to remove it, the filter should easily slide out without any resistance to speak of.
Once you have the filter out, you can slide the new one into its place. One thing to pay attention to is the arrows on your filter. You want to make sure that they are pointing towards the wall or away from you. If they are pointed towards you, it could impede the airflow into your AC unit.
5. Put the Vent/Cover Back On
Give the filter a good nudge; that way, you can be sure it is well seated. Once that is finished, you can replace the vent or the cover. It is that simple, and doing this simple maintenance can keep you from having to spend thousands of dollars on repairs and replacement AC units.
Regular Maintenance and You
If you’ve wondered how to replace an AC filter and you own your own home, there’s a good chance you should have already done it. Don’t risk damage to your HVAC system and the headache and bills that come along with it. Get down there and make sure that your filter is changed and in good condition.
You will find that you can save money, even on monthly utility bills when you keep your filters changed. The entire system will work better with a clean filter. You may even find that your house is not as dusty as it was before you changed the filter, especially if it has been a long time since it has been changed.
Keep the AC Working and Your Home Comfortable
Now that you know how to replace AC filters, you are ready to continue doing so. The next time you do, it will be much easier because you will already know what you need to get the job done. Instead of paying a technician to take care of the filter for you, this is one job that you can easily do on your own.
Enjoy the cooling power of your HVAC system, and keep that filter changed.