Decision Time: Clean or Replace
ometimes when you pull out the filter, it’s painfully obvious whether it’s time to clean or replace: if caked on dirt and dust are falling off the surface, it’s probably restricting air flow and you’ll want to take action. If it’s only lightly covered, or you can still see light through the filter material, you may want to clean the filter and then check again in another month. If it’s somewhere in between, you can default to the filter manufacturer’s recommendations or use your own judgment based on your own experience.
If you are replacing or changing air conditioner filters, be sure to either measure the old filter or take note of its dimensions if printed on the casing before you throw the old one away. You will need these dimensions to purchase a replacement if you don’t have a replacement filter at home already.
If you are cleaning the filter, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many filters, whether disposable or re-usable can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment, being careful not to tear the filter material.
Insert the Clean Filter and Turn the AC Unit On
Carefully slide the new or cleaned filter back into its housing with the airflow arrows pointing in the correct direction. Properly secure the cabinet or panel cover, then restore power to the system and turn it on.