Changing an Air Conditioning Filter
Changing the filter in your air conditioning system is one of the most basic and cost-effective things you can do for your system and for your pocketbook. The Department of Energy gives detailed information on the importance of maintaining your system here: Maintaining your air conditioner. Manufacturers of air conditioning systems make their systems so that the average person can easily change the filter themselves in order to encourage people to do it themselves. Although there are a wide variety of systems out there, the simple process of changing the filter is fairly uniform across the industry. What’s involved? Five minutes of your time and relatively no effort are all that’s necessary. Let’s do it.
First, identify the location of your filter, which will be covered by a gate or door. Mine is in the hallway ceiling above my thermostat. Because it is in the ceiling of the hallway, I assemble a shortlist of items in the hallway under the grate to save time and simplify the entire process. Those items are:
- A Ladder
- A Flat Blade Screwdriver
- A Large Trash Bag
- A Clean Dry Rag
- A Small and Broom
- The Replacement Filter
Let’s get started.
Position your ladder underneath and slightly to the side of your filter grate. Assuming that you know the size and type of filter you need, remove any plastic covering from the filter and place it near the top of the ladder for easy access when you climb the ladder. Open the trash bag in order to place the dirty filter inside the bag immediately upon removal. At this point, I reach over and turn the thermostat to the “Off” position so that the unit does not engage while I am working.
Once you ascend the ladder you will see to small metal clips on one side of the grate, using your screwdriver, position the tip under the square ends of the clip and lift outward. The clips will swing out and the door will open, held on the other side by hinges. The dirty filter will sit immediately in that opening. Prior to placing into the trash bag verify that the size of the replacement filter is the same as the filter you are replacing. The sizes are written on the narrow side of the filters and will appear as measurements. For example, mine are 25x25x1. It is a 25 inch square, 1 inch deep. When you verify that the measurement sizes are the same you will notice two arrows on the narrow side of the filter. That indicates which way the filter goes into the opening. The arrows should point up towards the intake when you slip it into place. Remove the filter and place into your trash bag.
Use your dry rag to wipe away any dirt or lint around the ledge upon which the filter sits. Place the replacement filter into the same slot as the one you removed, ensuring that the arrows on the side are pointing upward. Lift the grate back into place and swing the clips back to catch and secure the door and the filter into place. Use your hand broom to remove any dirt or lint from the grate prior to turning the unit back on.
Repeat this process each month and you will enjoy savings in energy needed to operate your system, and maximize the life of your system, both of which will save you money.