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Changing the AC’s Air Filter—Some Tips

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In our last post, we went over a few steps to take before your air conditioning system in Fort Wayne, IN gets down to the serious work of handling the summer heat. One of the most important of those steps is changing the HVAC air filter for a clean one. A clogged filter causes a slew of problems, from increases in utility bills to a drop in airflow through the ventilation system. It can even cause the AC to trip a circuit breaker.

But we only spent a paragraph on the air filter in that post. Here, we’d like to go into greater detail and offer some tips for the proper care of the air filter.

Finding the filter’s location

“Wait, where is the air filter?” This is a question we hear often. People are told to change the filter, but not where they can find it.

For most residential HVAC systems, the filter is located in a slot next to the cabinet, right at the spot where the return air duct connects to the blower. All you have to do is slide the filter from the slot. If you don’t see a place for the filter on the cabinet, the next place to look is behind the register of the return air vent inside the house. Unscrew the cover and you should find the air filter set behind it.

Replacement filters

Putting in a new filter is easy—slide it into place the way the old filter was. But you may not know what type of filter to use. This isn’t difficult since most residential HVAC systems use the same size filters. You can buy them in packs at home improvement stores. However, they come in different strengths. Simple panel filters are the least expensive, but you will need to replace them every month. Pleated filters can last 3 or 4 months, although they are most costly. There are also special media filters that can often last more than 6 months; ask an expert first before investing in this type, since a filter that’s too strong can harm the HVAC system and cut off airflow.

The permanent filter

You can use permanent filters instead of purchasing new disposable ones. The filter needs to be taken out every month to be cleaned and thoroughly dried. We don’t recommend using permanent filters, however. They are weaker than other filters, and they can develop mold and mildew over time.

Line up the arrows

Here’s a tip for putting in a new filter: you want to make sure the filter is facing the right direction. Filters are designed to have one side toward the incoming air. How can you tell you’re putting in the filter in the right direction? There are arrows on the filter frame for you to line up with the arrows on the cabinet slot. Match them up so they’re going the same direction, and you’re good!

Save the date!

One last tip—take a permanent marker and write the date you put in the new filter on its side so you can see it. This way you’ll know how long since it was last replaced. This will help get you into a filter-changing habit.

Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning: A company you’ve grown to trust! Look to us when you need any air conditioning assistance this summer.

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