How and When to Clean Your Home’s Air Filter - NEC Coop
Feb 2, 2021 — Electric Tips at Home, Energy Efficiency, News, Resources
When was the last time you changed your home’s air filter? Comfort and energy efficiency-wise, it’s typically one of the little things that can make a big difference. There are a few things more vital to your family’s good health than having clean air to breathe.
Your home’s air filters enhance your indoor air by removing contaminants like allergens or pollutants. By being diligent about cleaning and replacing your filters, you keep excessive debris and dirt from building up in your HVAC system. Not to mention that a good working cooling and heating system equates to a lower utility bill!
So, how often should you clean your air filter? The time frame may not be a one-size-fits-all. Some people replace their air filters only when they notice that it’s full of debris and dust, but this could make your cooling and heating system run less efficiently. As a general rule, it’s best if you follow the replacement recommendations found on the filter. It is also good to consider some factors which may require you to clean or replace your air filter more often, such as pets and allergies.
Contents in the air could aggravate symptoms for allergy sufferers. The fuller your air filter is, the more inefficient it is for trapping allergens, like dust, in its ducts. For folks with allergies, it may suit you to replace your air filter on a monthly basis.
If you have pets inside the home, you know too well how they shed often, which releases dander and fur into the air. These get sucked up into your cooling or heating ducts which could make the unit work double-time to cool or heat your home. In addition to vacuuming fur and dust off your air filter regularly, pet owners should also clean or switch out their air filters once a month.
If you don’t have allergies or pets, it’s safe to clean or replace your air filters 3 to 4 times a year, without any form of maintenance necessary to prolong its lifespan or extend its use.
Learn how to clean your air filter the right way and save between 5 to 15% of your air conditioner’s energy use. And because regular cleaning and replacement of air filters protect your HVAC system’s health, this could also mean savings in repairs.
Your appliance manual will tell you what type of air filter you have. There, you will also find instructions on how to efficiently clean and replace your filters. If you have lost the manual, a quick search on the manufacturer’s website will give you advice on replacing and cleaning filters.
Cleaning a washable air filter
1. Switch the appliance off. It’s best to unplug the machine to avoid any potential for electric shock.
2. Open the filter cover. You may need a screwdriver to open some models, but a lot of filter covers have latches which can be opened.
3. Tap the filter to remove loose dust. With the use of the brush attachment on a vacuum hose, clean the filter thoroughly on both sides.
4. Rinse the dust away. This will help remove smaller dust particles.
5. Wash away the grime. Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid to warm water, then scrub the solution on the filter with the use of a soft-bristled brush or sponge.
6. Dry the filter completely before reinserting it to any appliance.
7. Replace the filter into the vent or appliance securely, then turn the appliance back on.
The risk of repairs increases when your system is always dirty. Cleaning and changing the air filter regularly and consistently can help your HVAC system run longer with less risk of breakdowns. We hope that this timely advice from NEC Co-op Energy, your Texas Electric Company not only helps you save on repairs with regular air filter cleaning, but also helps you save money on energy costs!