How to Change the Filter on Your Central Air Unit

If you want to keep your central air unit running smoothly, it's important to know how to change the filter. This simple maintenance task can help keep your air conditioner in top shape and improve the air quality in your home. To start, you'll need to turn off the unit. If you have an electronic media filter, you don't need to worry about changing it every 1 to 3 months.

You can wait 6 months to a year before replacing it. However, it's important to make sure you get an exact match for the filter model. This may require ordering it on the brand's website. At Home Warranty of America, we always recommend that homeowners follow the manufacturer's instructions when it comes to the correct filters.

Additionally, if you want to improve air quality by eliminating pollen, mold, and other harmful contaminants, you should invest in HEPA filters with a MERV rating of 10 or higher. It's also a good idea to regularly perform professional maintenance on your air conditioning systems, even if you're trying to replace your air filters regularly. If the heating and air conditioning systems share the same ducts, it is possible that the air filter for both systems is located inside or near the furnace ventilation system. When the air conditioner filter becomes clogged, dust and dirt begin to enter the air conditioner itself, causing parts to wear and tear.

To ensure that the filter is installed correctly, make sure that the arrow on the filter points in the same direction as the airflow. It may also be more practical to buy replaceable filters if you don't want to take the time to wash it. When buying a new filter, be sure to check its Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV). Residential air filters typically have a MERV between 1 and 12, and higher numbers indicate that filters are more efficient at removing dust, particles and bacteria from the air.

Buying a filter that is too small or too large can create holes that allow dirt, dust and debris to pass through, which can burn your HVAC system. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly. Replacing the air conditioner filter in your home will allow the unit to continue to blow cold air without interruption. When in doubt, ask your HVAC technician for help in finding the correct filters or size information so you can order them yourself. The easiest way to keep up with your HVAC maintenance is to change your filters at least every three months. Before starting this DIY maintenance task, be sure to check your HVAC owner's manual for what type of filter you need. If you open the access panels and find that the boiler filter is washable, you don't need to change it (unless you want a filter that traps more particles).