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How to Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter

How to Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter

Summer, autumn, winter or spring. It’s always a good time to clean your air conditioner regardless of the season. And although there are some parts a licensed air conditioning technician should look after, you can always clean your own air con filters.

Maintaining a clean air conditioner is one of the most beneficial things you can do. It means the air you breathe is fresh and filtered to a higher level of purity. Clean air filters also lead to better energy efficiency and performance. Air flow is not restricted by clogged filters full of dust and debris. Your air con doesn’t have to work harder to give you comforting climate control.

You will often find self-care tips in the instruction manual. However, we know they often go missing! That’s why Jim’s Air Conditioning has stepped up to present a simple how to guide for keeping your air conditioner clean.

Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a licensed expert for basic maintenance and routine cleaning. So if you’d like to learn more about quick and easy air filter cleaning, keep on reading. And if you feel like more serious air conditioning services are required, just give us a call.

How to Clean Your Air Conditioning Filter: Key Points

Are you keen to stay in control of your home’s heating and cooling? It’s easy to keep your air conditioning system clean! Just follow our easy tips for optimal efficiency.

Important points to remember include:

  • Always check your instruction manual/manufacturer’s guide as there may be specific cleaning requirements. If you don’t have a physical booklet you can often download it from the manufacturer’s website.
  • Several modern air conditioners now have self-cleaning features to assist with ongoing maintenance.
  • Take advantage of the dry mode which cleans and dehumidifies air, removing moisture and damp odours.
  • Aim to clean your filters every 3 months, especially if you use a reverse cycle system all year round.
  • Wipe down or vacuum indoor units and vents regularly to remove dust, fur, etc.
  • Clean your outdoor unit at least every 12 months, removing things like garden debris.
  • Contact a licensed air conditioning technician for roof mounted systems or when repairs are required.

Cleaning Your Indoor Split System Air Filters

Regular cleaning of your air conditioning filters is surprisingly easy to achieve. There is no need for access to complex tools or chemicals. Often it’s all just as simple as removing the filters and providing a thorough wash and dry!

What you need:

  • disposable gloves
  • cleaning cloth
  • warm soapy water
  • vacuum cleaner

REMEMBER: Turn your indoor unit’s power supply off at the wall before you begin any work.

  1. To access your filter/s, gently lift the front panel of your split system. You should be able to easily remove the panel so you can wipe it down with either a dry cloth, or a damp cloth before drying. For a thorough, all round clean, it’s best to clean your air conditioner’s filter at least every 3 months. Regular cleaning may be required if you have shedding pets, or suffer from asthma/severe allergies.
  2. Before you take any filters out, gently run your vacuum cleaner over the filters. The brush attachment will be your best option. Additionally, some brands do sell their own kits for air conditioners so you can have a tailor made set of attachments.
  3. With the panel removed you will be able to easily slide out the air filters. There should be no resistance as they are designed for easy removal and replacement if necessary.
  4. Again, gently vacuum any dust and debris from either side of the filter. Then, gently soak the filter in warm water with mild detergent. You don’t need a lot of detergent at all. Rinse off the filter under running water and let dry.
  5. While the filters fry, wipe down your split system with a dry cloth and vacuum any remaining dirt in or around the unit. Then, once the filters are completely dry, place them back into the unit, close the panel, and you’re ready to go!

Your split system air conditioner will be back to full strength once cleaned thoroughly. You will be able to enjoy improved air quality and more energy efficient heating and cooling.

Maintaining and Washing the Outdoor Unit

Your outdoor unit requires a similar amount of love to ensure air can circulate and the coils remain in a crisp condition. It’s best to keep the outdoor unit clear of debris, including plants, grass, toys and furniture. Use a brush to wipe cobwebs off the actual unit, too.

Now, while an indoor unit requires some regular TLC, your outdoor motor unit is designed to stand up against the elements. Regular cleaning is still beneficial, albeit a touch more specialised. For example, the coils will require delicate cleaning with a hose and chemical treatment.

Therefore, pair regular cleanings with an AC unit service. A licensed technician can open the system up, provide a thorough wash and clean, and look for any areas of concern.

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Cleaning Your Ducted Heating and Cooling

Keeping your ducted system clean can appear a little more challenging. It’s not as easy to regularly clean the filter. You’re probably also unsure as to whether you can clean the ducts yourself. Well, thankfully, even a ducted air conditioning unit can be maintained by yourself.

You will be able to clean internal vents, including the return vent and the ducts in the ceiling.

  1. Make sure the power supply is turned off so nothing suddenly springs into action while you’re working.
  2. Grab your vacuum cleaner and get to work. Remove dirt, dust and fur from the outside of the vents. If you’re vacuuming a ceiling vent use a long attachment or a sturdy ladder for elevation. Ask a family member to hold onto the ladder so you don’t topple down.
  3. Remove the vent and continue to vacuum inside the ductwork or return vent filter. Feel free to wear a face mask or glasses to prevent all the dust from falling onto your face.
  4. Wipe down any removed vents with a cloth.
  5. Soak the vents and filters in warm soapy water before rinsing under running water. Let them dry.
  6. Once the air filters and vents are dry they can be placed back into position.

Other areas in a ducted air conditioner will be harder to clean due to accessibility. That’s when you might have to contact a licensed professional.

DIY Air Conditioner Filter Cleaning v Calling a Professional

So, it’s pretty easy to keep your air conditioner filters clean. You just need a vacuum cleaner, a cloth and some warm water with a little detergent! But for the more serious aspects of a split system air conditioner or ducted air conditioning system you might need a helping hand.

That’s when it’s time to call in a licensed professional.

Maintaining your air conditioner’s coils, fins and motor parts requires a touch more specialist care. Likewise, it’s great to have a professional duct cleaning service booked annually. And if anything needs to be replaced you might as well get an expert in to assess the full situation. That’s why it’s recommended to service and clean your air conditioner regularly.

Routine servicing uncovers hidden problems you might normally miss. It’s also pretty handy if your air conditioner’s outdoor unit is located in a hard to reach place like the roof. A professional will have all the tools and safety equipment for a job well done.