A clean and fresh indoor air especially at home is one of the key and important factors that contributes to your family’s overall health. While there are a variety of ways to improve your home’s air quality, using a clean filter in your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) appliances will greatly help in maintaining fresh and clean air indoors.
These HVAC equipment includes, but are not limited to, your furnace, air conditioners or other space heating and cooling systems, air purifiers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and more. All these essential home equipment uses air filters that should be cleaned or changed regularly for it to be able to efficiently perform its functions and make our life more comfortable.
Over time, air filters trap and accumulate dirt, dust, dander, and other pollutants that can cause and alleviate your family’s allergies and other respiratory symptoms, hence compromising your family’s health and quality of life.
How Often Should Air Filters Be Cleaned?
Air filters, in general and normal situations, should be cleaned or changed every three months at most. However, if your home is located in a dusty area, if you have lots of pets, or if you have allergen-sensitive family members, then you might consider frequent air filter cleaning or replacement.
If you do not know yet how often you should clean or replace your filter, you can check your air filter monthly to see how quickly dust and pollutants accumulate on it. If you’re unsure as to the state of your air filter as you go along your monthly check up, an easy way to know if your air filter needs immediate cleaning or replacing is when light cannot pass through it anymore when you hold it against bright light.
Once you established a schedule that works best for your home, then it is best to make this part of your cleaning or maintenance routine. Probably something that looks like this,
Should You Clean or Replace Your Air Filter?
The air filters your HVAC equipment is using can either be disposable or washable filters.
As per its name, disposable air filters are designed for one-time use only. Its frame is usually made of cardboard instead of plastic or metal which suggest that it cannot be washed by water. Also, cleaning it will cause its fibers to matte that will only promote mold and mildew formation which can affect the efficiency not only of the filter but to your HVAC equipment as well.
Washable air filters, on the other hand, are more expensive to purchase and more difficult to maintain because it needs regular cleaning. However, they are most cost-effective in the long run and are definitely more environment-friendly.
So how would you which is which on your current air filter?
One way to figure your filter type is by checking the product manual or run the filters model on Google and check its manufacturer’s website. Along with the basic product specifications and functions, there will also be cleaning and replacement schedule and tips.
Air Filter Cleaning Process
- Warm water
- Liquid dishwashing soap
- Water sprayer
- Soft-bristled brush
1. Turn off your HVAC equipment
Before you start cleaning or checking any appliance, make sure that it is turned off or unplugged to avoid any potential electric shock and to keep the work area safe.
2. Open the Filter Cabinet
To access the air filters, you first need to open the filter cabinet. To open its covers, you can simply open the latches that hold it close or use a screwdriver if the cover is attached with screws.
If you are trying to get the filter from an overhead air vent, make sure to use a sturdy stepladder.
Then, simply slide the air filter out of the filter cabinet, take note of the direction of the arrows in the filters (your clean filters must be positioned in the same way).
3. Head outside
It is best to clean the furnace outside your home so dust and dirt won’t spread indoor and double your workload.
4. Remove loose dirt
Lightly tap or shake the air filter to get rid of the loose dirt. Then, clean both sides of the filter using a soft-bristled brush.
5. Rinse the remaining dust
Using a water sprayer, rinse both sides of the washable filter with warm water to get rid of the smaller remaining dust particles that were not removed be the brush. Make sure to start on top and work your way down while rinsing the filter.
6. Wash the filter frame
Wash the grime on the filter frame with a solution of warm water and liquid dishwashing soap using a sponge or a soft-bristled brush. Make sure to rinse the filter to get rid of any dirt and soap residue.
7. Dry the filter
Before reinserting the air filter back in your equipment, make sure that it is COMPLETELY dry. You can dry it outside or place it in front of a fan.
8. Clean the filter cabinet
While waiting for the filter to dry, clean the filter cabinet to get rid of any dust or cobwebs.
9. Reinstall clean air filters
Once the air filters are completely dry, reinstall it on the filter cabinet noting the printed arrows direction. Make sure to close the latch or attach the screws back to firmly close the covers before turning the equipment back on.
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