Air conditioner filters purify the air coming in and out of the HVAC system. These air filter not only provide clean, cool air around the house, but they also ensure that dust and dirt won't damage the internal components of the air conditioning unit.
Washable air filters are most commonly-used in air conditioners as house air filters, but they may get damaged or have faults that will require you to install replacement filters. Diagnosing a faulty filter is relatively simple, as most air filters would have physical faults that can be assessed by homeowners without requiring professional assistance.
Diagnosing a Faulty Filter
There are various signs of a dirty air filter from the AC unit heating up to the unit short cycling. However, not all dirty filters need to be replaced. Replace your air filter only when it can no longer function properly, such as when the filter mesh is ripped, or if the mesh is too dirty to clean. Here are the top 3 most common signs that you need replacement filters:
#1 Damaged Filter Media
If you notice large holes, rips, or thinning filters, then you may need to replace the air filters as they can no longer prevent dust from circulating around your unit. Frequent air filter washing can cause the media to thin out and rip, which can decrease its efficiency.
Damaged filters cannot be fixed, and instead will need to be replaced. Avoid patching up holes in the filter mesh as this will change the efficiency of your filter, and your unit may accumulate dust in its internal components which will lead to bigger problems later on.
#2 Rising Energy Bills
A dirty air filter can cause a spike in energy bills as the air conditioner works harder to push air through clogged filters. Washable air filters can be easily cleaned with soap and water, but if the dirty filter can no longer be cleaned due to frequent use, then it is time to replace the filters. A professional HVAC technician will be able to assess whether the problem is with an inefficient filter.
#3 Dusty AC Unit
If you notice dust around the AC vents, then you know it's time for a new air filter. Dust around the AC vents and coils indicate a problem with your AC filter, as the filter can no longer prevent dust from getting into the unit. Cleaning your air filter regularly should prevent an accumulation of dust in your unit, but heavily-stained filters should be replaced.
How to Install Replacement Filters
Installing the replacement filter is a simple task that does not require the expertise of an aircon professional. However, if you are unsure of what to do with the AC unit, it is best to have an HVAC technician check your unit, and replace the filter for you. Here's how you can do it yourself:
Step 1: Purchase a New Filter
Purchase a new filter online, or get help from aircon professionals to scout for the best price and correct model of air filter you need for your unit. Look for air filters with an appropriate filter size and minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV rating) for the best options.
Step 2: Turn Off the Power, and Remove the Existing Air Filter
Turn off your air conditioner, and unplug the unit from its power source. Remove the existing air filter, and place it in a large plastic bag to prevent the dust from flying around. Dispose of the air filter properly in the correct trash receptacle.
Step 3: Clean the HVAC System
Give your AC unit a clean up to get it ready for a new air filter. This will remove the grime from inside your unit, and make it easier for your air filter to function properly. If your unit is centralized or ducted, rinse the removable vents with a bit of water to remove any grime.
Step 4: Place the New Filter According to Manufacturer's Directions
Remove the protective plastic from the AC filter, and read the manufacturer's directions on how to replace the filter. More often than not, installing the new filter is as simple as removing the old filter from the slot, and placing the new one in - similar to placing the filter back in place after washing it.
Step 5: Run the AC Unit to Test
Do a test run of the AC unit. This will help you detect any faults or incorrect installations, and assess whether the new filter is working properly to prevent dust from circulating within the room.
Air Conditioner Filter Replacement Cost
AC filters are generally inexpensive, with most units amounting to $30 at the lowest, and $70 at the highest prices. There is little to no labor costs involved in replacing an AC filter and the work can be easily done at home.
Where to Buy Replacement Filters
Air filters are often standard across all units of the same brand and model. If you know the kind of air conditioner you have at home, you can try browsing through online shopping sites like Amazon to find the exact type of AC air filter you need.
You can find air conditioner filter media, furnace filters, pleated air filters, and other air conditioner parts online as well. Always make sure to check the model and brand of your unit before purchasing, and inquire with the seller whether the filter will fit the model of your AC unit.
#2 Air Conditioner Repair Shops
Some air conditioner repair shops offer replacement parts with installation and cleaning as well. At Luce Aircon, we remove the guesswork of having to find the right component you need to fix up your AC unit. Ask our knowledgeable technicians for replacement filters, and we'll match your AC model with the right type of air filters.
Our technicians can also diagnose, repair, and replace any faulty parts with your air conditioning unit, and provide adequate scheduled maintenance so you can keep running your unit for years to come!
Give us a call today, and let's get started on bringing you a cooler comfort.