If you want to keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently, it's important to clean the filters regularly. To do a thorough cleaning, immerse the filter in a flat container with a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part warm water for an hour, then rinse it gently with a hose. Never use a pressurized cleaner on an air filter, as they are too delicate for any high-pressure hose. If the filter is suitable for water, soak it in a mixture of equal parts of water and vinegar for about an hour.
Before reinstalling the filter, make sure it is completely dry. To clean the air conditioner filters, start by turning off the system and unscrewing the ventilation grilles. Then remove the filter and use a vacuum to remove dust and dirt. Some air conditioning filters will need to be soaked in a mixture of water and vinegar and cleaned with a hose. This is especially important for window air conditioners, since you'll be working very close to the moving parts of the air conditioner. Avoid high utility bills and mechanical problems in the future by keeping your air conditioner filter clean.
While it's OK to run an air conditioner for a short time without a filter, using it for hours without one will eventually cause serious damage to the unit and reduce air quality in your home. Air conditioner filters are designed to trap dirt, dust, and anything else that gets through the vents. As always, read the air conditioner's instruction manual to make sure the water doesn't damage the filter. You'll almost certainly have the main filter in a slot inside or near your air controller, which is the large metal box, often in the basement or in a closet, that houses the air conditioner. When you're done with that, use a medium temperature vacuum to remove all dust and other particles from the air filter.
If the filter is too large to fit inside a sink or bucket, wash it with a garden hose and allow water to pass through the filter in the opposite direction to the air flow. A clogged air conditioning filter can trap cold air inside the unit and prevent it from circulating through the ducts to your home. Take some time to study each unit and follow the instruction manual for removing and cleaning the filter. The air conditioner filter can get pretty disgusting without regular cleaning, and a dirty filter isn't as good at keeping dust, dirt, and debris out of your home's air. If you leave it on while you remove and clean the filter, it can cause unfiltered air to circulate around your house. You can also have air filters behind the return ventilation grille, which is the large ventilation grille where air enters.
Before checking this filter, make sure you turn off your system first so that unfiltered air doesn't circulate throughout your house while you're removing and cleaning it. Victor Belavus is an air conditioning specialist and owner of 212 HVAC, an air conditioning repair and installation company based in Brooklyn, New York.