It is very important to regularly clean or replace your unit's air filters to reduce airborne mold and typical allergens via forced air systems. Although many air filters are disposable and cannot be cleaned, thanks to new technologies, washable air filters are also available in the market. If the filter of your HVAC-R is disposable, it is better to replace it with a washable filter.

The importance of cleaning the air filter

By cleaning the filter, you can achieve cleaner air, and less dust and allergens. Also, since dirty filters make the device work harder, cleaning the filter increases the efficiency of the system and reduces the cost. In addition, the less the system works, the less it will be overheated and less damaged.

When do you need to clean or replace your air filter?

Unlike washable filters, disposable filters can only be used once. Cleaning a disposable filter not only reduces the efficiency of the system but also increases the growth of mold. Washable filters can be used for a longer period, although they are more difficult to maintain. By referring to the manual of the device, you can find the type of filter used and allowed filter for use. Also, information about how to replace and clean the filters is usually provided in these manuals.

How often should we clean the air filters?

A regular schedule should be considered for cleaning the air filter. Typically, HVAC filters should be cleaned or replaced once every three months. Also, if you live in areas with high levels of pollution and dust, you should clean the filters frequently.

To find out if the air filter needs to be cleaned or not, you can drain it and then put it in front of the light. If the light passes through it, it can be used for a long time, and if the light does not pass, it should be cleaned as soon as possible.

Different types of filters

Disposable filters

Since these filters are only made of paper and cardboard, they cannot be cleaned and should be replaced if they are dirty. You can purchase them in bulk to substitute them several times a year, but if you're short on replacements and looking for alternatives, it might be time to consider washable filters.

Washable filters

These are the permanent kind of filters as they can be washed and reused for years. Some electrostatic filters increase the life of the HVAC system. Reusable filters are more costly but can reduce your costs in the long run. They tend to be less sufficient at capturing fine particles and dust than disposable filters, so they may not be the most satisfactory option if you or anyone in your home has allergies.

Their function is that they use air friction to make electrostatic adhesion to trap small particles. If you decide to replace your unit's disposable filter with a reusable filter, get the highest MERV filter rating for your system. It is best to keep the packaging when changing the filter, as knowing what type of product you have bought is the first stage to understanding how to clean it. You can also mark in your calendar when you need to clean or replace the filter so that you can easily recall it.

How to clean a washable air filter?

Turn Off Your HVAC Unit

You must turn off the HVAC unit before you start cleaning the air filter. It is also recommended that if the HVAC unit is small, unplug it to avoid electric shock. If an air conditioning system is on while cleaning or changing the filter, it will pull extra dust into the fan and motor.

Open the filter cover

Numerous filters include latches to access the filter. Some of these latches are attached with screws that you need to open with a screwdriver, and then make sure that you put the screws in the proper place. If you are going to work on the air conditioning vent above your head, be sure to use a suitable and safe ladder.

Take the filter outside

You can take it outside to clean the filter. Tap the filter gently to drag loose dust. Also, a brush on a vacuum hose can be used to clean the filter.

Wash off the dust

After removing most of the dust, put the filter in a sink and keep it under warm water to clear the smaller dust particles. First, start cleaning from one side and then go to the bottom of the filter so that the dirty water doesn't get deposited back on the filter.

Wash off the mass

To clean a dirty or sticky filter framing, combine a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid, and then clean the filter by sinking a smooth brush in the solution. Wash sufficiently to clear soap remains.

Dry the filter

Before putting the filter in the unit, it should be dried with a towel. You can also put it in front of a fan to dry it completely. Besides, you can clean the machine or vent where you removed the air filter at this time to clear any dirt.

Reinstall the filter

Inspect the dry filter for any signs of harm such as spots and grime that cannot be completely cleaned. If the filter is in acceptable condition, you can install it on the machine.

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