Like any piece of machinery, an air conditioning system needs regular maintenance if it’s to perform at peak efficiency. The most important maintenance you can provide for your air conditioning system is changing or cleaning its air filters. Clogged or dirty air filters can block air flow and impair an AC system’s efficiency, and dirty air that gets past a filter can be carried into the evaporator coil and reduce the coil’s ability to absorb heat and cool your home.
Whether you have central air conditioning or room air conditioners, keeping the air filters clean can lower your AC unit’s electricity use by 5 percent to 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And since cooling your home is a big source of energy consumption, keeping your AC filters clean can help save money on your monthly electric bill.
Types of Air Conditioner Air Filters
There are several different kinds of air filters for AC units. Central and room AC units typically use washable or disposable filters. Disposable fiberglass filters are the cheapest, but usually the least effective at keeping out dust, particles and microorganisms. Washable filters can often be a step up in terms of quality, but need regular bi-weekly maintenance to keep them going strong.
Location of Air Conditioner Air Filters
Air filters for central AC units will typically be found along the length of the return duct, in a wall, ceiling, furnace, or even in the AC itself. The filter for room AC units is mounted in the grill facing into the room.
Changing and Cleaning AC Filters
Disposable AC filters will need to be changed every month or two during the cooling season, or more often if you run your AC a lot. For best performance, washable AC filters should be cleaned every two weeks by letting them soak for an hour in a tub or basin filled with a solution of one part water and one part vinegar. Washable AC filters should be changed out every three to six months, depending on how much you use your AC unit.
Energy Savers website, “Maintaining Your Air Conditioner.”
Air Conditioning Filters website, “The Importance of Maintaining Air Conditioner Filters.”