Keep cool by keeping your air conditioner filter clean

May 28, 2016

As far as household chores go, changing your air conditioner filter takes only a few minutes of your time, makes minimal mess and doesn’t require any special skills or even any special tools. In fact, you might you even consider this chore so simple that it’s fun, too.

Despite these attributes, changing a dirty air conditioner filter is one of the most overlooked household chores of all – at least in the view of the technicians at Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning. They say so because they have changed hundreds of filters during annual air conditioning tune-ups and have resuscitated many air conditioners from breakdowns merely by removing a filter that is choked with dust and dirt and replacing it with a clean one.

Charlie’s doesn’t want this happen to you, but we can’t deny the obvious. For a chore that is so crucial to the day-to-day functioning and efficiency of an air conditioner, this household chore usually is neglected for one of three reasons. Either homeowners:
• Don’t understand the role a filter plays in an air conditioner
• Have never changed a filter and don’t know how
• Need a dependable way to remember to change their filter

Let Charlie’s clear up all three impediments – so that your air conditioner runs smoothly and reliably all summer long.

Filter the air conditioner filter facts

It might help to remember that all the cool air in your home passes through the filter at some point. Along for the ride are dust, fibers and other airborne elements outlined in a previous Charlie’s article, “Charlie’s filters the dirty truths about keeping your air conditioner filter clean.”

When the filter traps these elements, it does more than keep your indoor air clean; it ensures a good air flow around your air conditioner, ensuring that it doesn’t run any longer than it has to to reach the temperature you have set on your thermostat. (When this happens, your air conditioner also costs more money to operate, and you’ll have the bills to prove it.)

An air conditioner is so dependent on the filter that, in the worst cases, it will shut off and refuse to run again until the dirty filter is removed and replaced with a clean one. That has been a frightening episode for many of Charlie’s customers – another reason why we started a filter delivery service last year that will bring a clean filter directly to your front door. Charlie’s wants to help you avert the stress of this crisis.

Master this chore with ease

With a clean filter at your side, you might wish to approach your air conditioner with the owner’s manual for your air conditioner, a flashlight and a garbage bag to dispose of the dirty filter.

First, turn off your air conditioner as a safeguard. Then locate the service panel, which should be located next to the blower fan. Chances are, you can clearly see an exposed edge of your filter in this panel. Grab hold of the filter and pull it toward you to remove it.

A quick visual inspection of your filter ought to tell you all you need to know; it will be piled with dust and dark in color. If you’re not certain if the filter warrants replacing, hold it up to a light or shine a flashlight behind it. If you can see the light, slide the filter back into the panel. If you cannot see the light shining through the back, it’s time for a new filter.

In this case, put the dirty filter in the garbage bag and set it side. Then remove the new filter from the packaging, being careful not to dent or crush it. The filter should have arrows on it that direct you to the correct orientation as you slide it into the service panel. Then turn your air conditioner back on.

One caveat: some filter packages include a recommendation to check the filter every three months. Remember that most filters are mass produced and delivered to stores across the United States. Since we live in a warm climate, where air conditioners are subjected to heavy use and therefore accumulate airborne particles quickly, Charlie’s strongly recommends that you check the filter every month, without fail.

Master the tricky part

Therein lies the tricky part. How do you remember to change the filter, especially if you subscribe to the adage about some household chores fall off our to-do list because when “they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind”?

Signing up for Charlie’s filter delivery service is one sure-fire way to keep this household chore top-of-mind. Otherwise, try tying this chore to another monthly ritual to remind you, such as when you pay your monthly electric bill. After you pay the bill, check the filter. Otherwise, jot a reminder on a paper calendar or set a reminder on your cell phone.

Once you conquer these three impediments, you will help ensure that your air conditioner keeps you cool all summer long. And if anything stands in your way or causes you to break out in a sweat, remember that Charlie’s is one cool phone call away.

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