When summer comes and temperatures climb to unbearable new records along with those August humidity levels, enough air conditioning is not enough. Those small room AC units that go on special in July are lifesavers. You want them in tip-top shape and there is not much more you can do to improve their performance than to clean their filters. This can save electric costs and keep the unit running smoothly. How to clean a window air conditioner filter?
- Turn Off Power-Unplug
- Pull the front panel off-Remove the filter
- Vacuum inside the A/C Unit with a brush attachment
- Scrape excess dirt off Filter
- Use Dishwashing liquid, a sink sprayer or hose
- Spray & clean through the backside of the filter
- Clean & Rinse Front Panel
- Dry Filter-Reinstall
- Power up the unit
Are Washable Air Filters Good
Absolutely any kind of filter will trap the dust particles and when cleaned up with soap and water will provide clean air that can circulate through the air conditioner and the space in the room. The longer you run your AC without an air filter, the more contaminants get pulled into the AC system, eventually leading to poor indoor air quality and expensive AC problems. It makes sense that the more popular the room the dirtier the air and the warmer the temperature will be.
In my house, it’s the entertaining room with a Bar where everyone watches football games and has a couple of beers and a cigar or two. That filter has to be cleaned every week. The first time I popped the front panel off, I couldn’t believe how dirty the filter was. No smoking rule went into effect that day.
Clean a Window Air Conditioner Air Filter twice a month. If you are getting large groups of people in then once a week.
Can a Dirty Air Filter Make you Sick
Without a filter inside your AC Unit to trap air pollutants, your home’s air quality will deteriorate as it circulates. That’s because the same air contaminants will just circulate through that room. The more people in the room the more contaminates are being shared among the people in the room. But what’s worse is that you’re likely bringing even more pollutants into your home on a daily basis. Pets, guests, and even vacuuming can add more and more pollutants to your home’s air. When you clean the AC Unit filter for the first time you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Eventually, poor air quality can lead to:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Nose and throat irritation
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Increased chance of asthma attack
- Respiratory problems
Not a very healthy place to congregate and spend a few hours watching a Ball game. Throw in some shedding dogs or cats and you probably will need a face mask. The Air Conditioner will try to pull air through the system to cool the air whether the filter is clogged or not. So the air-conditioner will be ground zero for contaminants and longer your in the room the more contaminants your exposing yourself to them.
As air passes over the cold coils, heat and moisture is absorbed by the refrigerant. But if there’s insufficient airflow over those coils, they can’t absorb as much heat. And eventually, the (already cold) refrigerant drops so low in temperature that the coils freeze over. Check the Filter First!
How Often Should You Change Your AC Filter
A lot of factors will contribute to the longevity of your air filter in an AC Window Unit:
- Room size. Larger rooms circulate larger amounts of air which means the filter may need to be changed more frequently than those in smaller homes.
- Air quality. If you live in a bigger or busier city, the air in your home may be more polluted with excess smog, dust and, debris. This can make your air filter work overtime, which means it will need to be changed more often.
- Pets. Since common household pets can shed and track in dirt from outside, you’ll need to change the filter regularly to keep it clear of pet hair and dander.
- Allergies or medical conditions. Homeowners with severe allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions should consider changing the air filter more often than usual to prevent flare-ups. People in the room for any length of time will get watery eyes and have a sneezing problem.
- Lower cost Fiberglass filters may need to be replaced every month and higher quality screening type filters may be washed and used for the whole summer season and replaced in the Spring.
- Changing your central air conditioning unit’s air filter at least once every six months will not only help you save on your monthly bills but also will help extend the life of your system. Changing the filter every three months is even better.