Tips for Replacing Your Air Filter

replacing your air filter- tech on a ladder

Replacing your air filter at home is a simple replacement that increases both airflow and circulation. When air filters get clogged, the system must work harder to keep your air circulating more freely. Therefore, it just makes sense to keep your air filters clean to extend your AC unit’s life and avoid costly repairsTRUST Heating and Air has a few valuable tips for you when it’s time to replace your air filter.

When it comes to air filters, there are two main types-pleated and non-pleated. Non-pleated filters are smooth, and flat and have a spun surface that is basic but will filter the air. When it comes to pleated filters, they have channels and ridges that give air particles a larger area to be trapped. The efficiency of your air being filtered is indicated by the minimum efficiency reporting valve, which is indicated as the MERV rating.

According to“Good air filters have a MERV rating between 5 and 11, while the most efficient filters have MERV ratings between 13 and 14. The higher the MERV, the better it’ll help trap dust, pollen, pet hair and dander, smoke, odors, allergens, bacteria, and viruses.”

AC filter image close

Replacing Your Air Filters: New Filter Frequency

If it seems your HVAC unit is constantly running, there may be clogged filters. Consider changing your air filters once a month. In addition, the changing frequency can be based on a number of factors. These factors include but are not limited to how many people live in your house, how many pets you have, the size of your home, the filter location, and whether you have bothersome seasonal allergies.

On the other hand, pleated filters can be changed up to every three months. However, you will want to continue to check it every month. If it doesn’t look dirty, you can leave it in, and your system will continue to run efficiently.

Non-pleated filters should be changed every month because they don’t have as much of a filter system to keep your air clean and circulated.

Replacing Your Air Filter: Installation

New to the central AC scene? New homeowner needing some tips? We have it all covered right here; just keep reading.

Step 1| Locate Your Air Filters- Take a look around the home. If you have air return vents, you’ll likely find your air filter in the ceiling or in the wall. Air return vents are standard on systems that have less than two vents. On the other hand, homes that are larger and have an upstairs and downstairs unit have air return vents for each system.

Depending on where the air vents are located, they may not be identical in size, so make sure you double-check and grab the right air filter size when you go to replace it. Fortunately, the size you’ll need is printed conveniently on the outside of the filter currently in your return vent. Also, on some HVAC units, the filter will be located on the main circulation unit. This could be in a basement, closet, crawl space, or attic.

Step 2| Turn Off the Unit- It’s best to turn off your AC unit while you’re replacing the air filter to avoid allowing dust particles to blow into the system.

Step 3| Accessing the Air Filter- Once you have located the air vents in the home, open the small metal grate that is holding the grill closed. These are typically on the side or the top of the panel; it just depends on the location of the panel in your room or the location of the house.

Tip: It’s helpful if you use a small flathead screwdriver to open the levers of the grill if they are tight. 

On the HVAC unit, you’ll find the filter location typically near the air supply unit. Once you open it, the filter will be inside.

AC vent cover

Step 4| Remove Your Old Filter- When you remove the old filter, it should slide out easily. Take note of what direction the arrows are on the filter. Depending on how long the filter has been sitting there, it could be full of dust and particles. Be cautious when removing it, especially if you have allergies.

Step 5| Insert New Filter- Now that you have removed the old filter, insert the new filter with the airflow direction arrows pointing in the same direction as the old filter. The arrows should be pointing toward the unit’s ductwork or to the blower unit. You should not have to force the air filter in, but it should fit snugly without having to crease or bend it.

Step 6| Close the Air Filter Grill- Once the new filter has been placed, return the grill, and press the locking mechanisms back in to be flush with the grill. Then, on HVAC units, you’ll need to close and lock the air filter slot. Once you have finished these steps, turn your AC unit back on and check for any airflow problems.

Step 7| Filter Schedule- This is the final step in changing your air filter– one often overlooked. 

Now that you have located where your filter is, you’ve taken out the old one and replaced it with a new one; let’s go a step further. 

Please make a note of the date and try to replace it 30 days from that date. It is so easy to make a note on your calendar that will help remind you to change it out. This will prolong the life of your AC unit, give your household better airflow, and improve allergy flare-ups.

Replacing Your Air Filters: Window Units

Air conditioning units that are placed in a window also have air filters that need to be replaced and cleaned. And, of course, this will help the unit to run more efficiently. 

When the unit is off, access the filter by removing the front cover.

Most updated air conditioner models have slide-out filters that are located on the side of the window unit. Remove the front cover, and then simply remove the filter. You can wash the dust away with warm soapy water and let it air dry and then replace it, or you can vacuum the dust away and put it back into the unit. If the filter seems to be flimsy and falling apart, definitely replace it with a new one.

2 AC filters side by side

Replacing Your Air Filters: What’s Next?

Please call TRUST Heating and Air for any follow-up questions, annual maintenance, and inspections. TRUST takes pride in being employed with reliable and knowledgeable people, installing and selling quality products, and we always have your best interest in mind.

TRUST Heating and Air was started in 2014 in the small town of Loganville, GA. The company provides service to their customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. And the TRUST employees have all the training and knowledge they need to solve your AC and heating concerns.