One of the most common HVAC issues we find on home inspections is poor maintenance as a result of a dirty or clogged filter. While a dirty filter won’t spell the end of your HVAC unit just yet, it will slowly rob it of its energy efficiency and eventually degrade its interior components. 

Fortunately, maintaining an HVAC filter is very easy and straightforward and only requires routine cleaning about once or twice a month. This guide will discuss the importance of maintaining your HVAC filter and how to clean it thoroughly. 

The Importance of HVAC Filter Maintenance

Maintaining your HVAC filter is incredibly important for several reasons. For one, it helps maintain indoor air quality. A clean filter also helps keep your family safe by reducing allergens and dust that circulate through the air. 

Cleaning your filter also allows you to save on energy costs. When filters are clogged with dirt, they have to work harder to maintain the same temperature, which will increase your energy bill each month. 

Lastly, regularly maintaining your filter allows you to maximize the system’s life. A clogged filter, as we now know, causes the system to work overtime, which may cause it to overheat, resulting in leaks and electrical issues.

Now that we can see why maintaining your HVAC filter is important, the question is, how do we do this? 

Types of HVAC Filters

Before we discuss how to clean your filters, it is important to know that there are two types of HVAC filters:

1.) Disposable: These filters should be thrown away once they become clogged or dirty. They consist of a cardboard frame that is not designed to withstand spraying from a hose or continuous use. Disposable filters should be replaced at least every three months

2.) Permanent: Instead of cheap cardboard frames, most standard HVAC filters have fiberglass frames. They may cost more upfront, but in the long run, can save you money as these can be cleaned and then reused.

How to Clean Reusable HVAC Filters

To clean your permanent filter, first turn off the heating or air conditioner and then locate your HVAC unit’s service panel. Once you have found this, open it to remove the filter. Clean the filter with running water, either from your sink or a garden hose. It is important to wait until your filter is completely dry before reinserting it back into your system.

Quick Tips for Maintaining Your HVAC Filter

  • Follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning and maintaining your HVAC filter. 
  • Use a special cleaner designed for your filter to prolong its life.
  • Set a reminder on your phone for every month to clean your HVAC filter when the system is in use. Make it part of your spring cleaning and summer maintenance routine.
  • Inspect filters for damage after each cleaning and replace filters when they become torn or have holes present.

By following these easy steps, you will be able to not only protect the health of your family, but also save on energy costs and lengthen the life of your HVAC system!