As autumn comes nearer, California residents are gearing up for the change in weather. Unfortunately, the increased amount of dust mites and other particles entering your home have a greater likelihood of accumulating in your filter during these times. If you’re not careful, clogged filters can have adverse side effects on the quality of your living environment.

A Clean Filter Equals a Happy Home

One of the most important reasons for keeping your filters clean is indoor air quality. If your home were to acquire the issues that come with humidity due to poor air quality, you would put your loved ones and your family at risk of problems like mold.

Uneven airflow is also a potential consequence of poor filter maintenance. For example, when walking to your bedroom, you may find that the kitchen is significantly warmer. The restricted flow of air caused by a clogged filter will sometimes cause temperature-related issues like this and others.

Short-cycling or the frequent stopping and starting of your air conditioner is also common with extremely dirty filters. It’s incredibly harmful to the energy efficiency of your system and will waste money and typically shorten the lifespan of your system.

Most of the issues associated with unkept filters result in wear and tear in your air conditioner. That’s because the more clogged your filter is, the harder your system has to work in order to cool your home. This increased workload will eventually lead to more frequent repairs as well as a sooner replacement.

There is more than damage to your air conditioner at risk, however. In the fall, there is an increased amount of allergens in the air. When they come into your home, it’s the job of the filter to trap them and let clean air through. Although, when your filter begins to take on too many of those particles, they accumulate on the screen and eventually are released into your home. These particles will circulate through your house and linger in rooms to be breathed in by your guests.

For all of these reasons, a healthy home needs to have clean filters. So, in order to prepare for the fall season, take a couple of hours out of your day to follow these five steps of cleaning your filter.

Turn Off Your Air Conditioner

It’s your filter’s job to stop potential harmful particles from out from circulating through your home. For that reason, you should turn your air conditioner off during the entire process of cleaning your filter to prevent those parties from entering your lungs. Set aside a couple of hours during a mild time of day to clean your filters without discomfort.

Remove the Filter

After you’ve got a few hours to clean, identify where your filter is and remove it. Some air conditioners have multiple filters, so be sure you get them all if you do.

Now that you’ve removed your filter, the next part of this phase is to ensure that it is still functional. Look for any signs that you should replace rather than clean your filter. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s better to replace it with a new one than risk using a faulty filter. After you’ve confirmed it’s still functional; it’s time for the next step.

Vacuuming the Filter

For this step, you’ll need a vacuum with a hose attachment. You’ll begin vacuuming all around the filter using light pressure. Filters can be fragile, so a light touch is key in this step. You may notice some dirt may not come off from simply passing over it with the hose; that’s okay. The more often you clean your filter, the more likely it is that you’ll have a buildup of dirt and dust stuck to it. However, the next step should take care of that issue.

Give Your Filter a Bath

The dirt still left on your filter is likely to contribute to any loss of energy efficiency that you are experiencing. Soaking your filter will help to loosen this buildup and give you a clean slate until the next time you clean.

Take the time to prepare a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water. You’ll soak your filter in this mixture for an hour, allowing the clumps of dirt to loosen. After that, you’ll rinse the filter with light water pressure. It’s important you do not use a pressurized hose to prevent damaging your newly clean filter. You can repeat the soaking and rinsing process if you’re not satisfied with the filter’s cleanliness. After the filter is clean, it’s time to let it dry and continue to the final step.

Return the Filter

It’s important before you return the filter to the system, you verify that it is entirely dry. Doing so will prevent mold from growing on the filter and circulating through your home. Then, you should check the filter once more for any damage that may have happened during the cleaning process. If, after thoroughly soaking and rinsing your filter, there are still problem areas on it, you may consider replacing it with a new one. Filters are relatively affordable and easy to access. Once you’ve verified that the filter is in good shape, feel free to return it to the system and turn your air conditioner back on.

All About Filters

Like the rest of your system, your system requires regular attention in order t prevent the issues that lead to loss of efficiency and poor air quality. Scheduling regular checkups for your entire system will help you stay on top of your timing in terms of cleaning, repairs, and replacements.

It’s also necessary to mention that not all filters are washable. Fiberglass filters, for example, are the most affordable types of filters. However, they primarily protect the system itself and do little for catching harmful particles trying to make their way into your home. These types of filters are not washable and should instead be thrown away at the end of their use and replaced with new ones.

Some filters vary in terms of washability. Electrostatic filters, for example, use a magnetic charge to attract particles and keep them clinging to the filter. They are highly effective; however, only some of the brands of Electrostatic filters are actually washable, so if you own these, be sure to research the brand for the steps you should take.

UV filters use light to rid the area of microorganisms. They work in ways contradictory to traditional filters and do not require you to remove and wash them. Instead, schedule an appointment with a trained professional to inspect your UV filter and ensure that it is still an efficient part of your system.

HVAC Experts in San Diego County

Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning brings over 70 years of combined experience servicing ACs in San Diego County. We treat our customers like family and treat every case cooling—as well as heating, heat pump, and indoor air quality service—with the care it deserves. So, if you feel that your home is in need of care, call us today.

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