While everybody enjoys the comforts of central air conditioning, not everyone is savvy about the best ways to keep your AC unit cleaned, conditioned, and primed for use. A unit that’s left uncleaned can contribute to allergens in the home and lead to uneven cooling and rising utility bills.

Read on to learn more about how you can make sure your air conditioner is in tip-top shape.

What Time of Year Should You Change Your Air Conditioner Filter?

The best time to think about major appliance maintenance is at the change of seasons. With air conditioners, this is especially true. Why? Because the filter for your air conditioner continually traps the same seasonal dust, pollen, and other allergens that make you sneeze and itchy when you experience them elsewhere.

By cleaning your air conditioner filter at different times of the year, you’ll not only be taking the best steps to get rid of allergens, but you’ll also be checking on the condition of your machine at least four times a year. That gives you plenty of opportunities to notice changes in the AC unit and to know if you’ll need to have it professionally serviced.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Filter?

According to Home Depot, the steps are straightforward. To clean your AC unit filter, you’ll need only a vacuum, a hose, and a new or dry filter.

You’ll begin by turning off the unit and ensuring all power to the unit has been cut. This is a very important step—so don’t forget!

Next, carefully remove the filter. When you do, ensure you can place the filter on a surface you don’t mind getting dusty. Maybe a garbage bag or a table cloth—you’ll want to use something easy to clean. If you’re replacing your old filter with a new one, now is the time to insert the new filter. If you plan to use the same filter again, read on!

Tips for Cleaning a Reusable Filter

After you’ve removed the filter, it’s time to vacuum it.

  • Using a medium amount of suction, vacuum the folds of your filter until as much dirt as possible has been removed.
  • Next, you’ll want to rinse the filter. You can do this using a hose or even your shower head.
  • You’ll want to run water through the filter until the filter seems to emit clear water and looks clean.
  • If your filter isn’t coming clean on its own, it may be time to replace the filter.
  • Once the filter is rinsed, you must wait for it to dry fully before restoring it to the unit and restoring power to the unit.
  • This can take up to twelve hours, so choose a time that’s convenient for you and your family.

Caring for your air conditioning unit can seem like a nuisance, but paying attention to such an important appliance will give you many more years of successful use and a comfortable, clean home.

By taking the steps necessary to clean your filter, you’ll reduce energy use, reduce allergens in your home, and reduce anxiety about whether your unit is in good shape. Seasonal cleanings of an AC unit are a smart way to manage your appliance.