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When you schedule AC maintenance, you can expect your technician to change the filter, among other important tasks. However, your air conditioner only receives a professional tune-up once a year, while the recommended timeframe for changing the filter is once every one to three months. This means you must learn how to change an air conditioning filter yourself. Feel free to ask your technician to show you how it’s done, or simply follow this guide.

Locate the Air Conditioning Filter

AC filter replacement is an easy task, but you must first know where to find it. In many systems, the filter is located in a return air duct near the air handler. You may have to open a metal panel labeled “filter” to gain access. If you struggle to locate the filter, ask your HVAC technician to show you where it is during your next service visit.

Buy the Right Replacement Filter

You need the correct filter model and size to fit the slot in your HVAC system. You can also upgrade the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) if you want. The higher this rating, the better the filter is at trapping airborne pollutants. Just be aware that MERV ratings above 10 could restrict airflow, so talk to an HVAC professional before purchasing a filter rated this high.

Change the Air Filter

Follow these steps to swap out your old filter for a new one:

  • Turn off the power: Before you get started, cut the power to the air conditioner at the main breaker panel. This is for your own safety and that of your AC unit.
  • Remove the old filter: Slide the filter out of its slot or unscrew the attachments holding it in place.
  • Check the filter: Does it appear clogged with dirt and dust? Hold it up, and if you can’t see much light filtering through, you know it’s time to replace it. On the other hand, if the filter looks like it still has some life left, feel free to reinstall it.
  • Dispose of or clean the old filter: You are allowed to throw air filters away in the regular trash. If you have a reusable filter with a sturdy metal frame and cleanable surface, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean and dry the filter for reuse.
  • Insert the new or cleaned filter: Ensuring the same orientation as the old filter, insert the new one into the filter slot. Use the arrow on the filter’s frame to show you what direction the air should flow to prevent you from putting it in backward.

Have questions about replacing your air filter? Ready to schedule annual AC maintenance? Meadow Air can handle all your home cooling needs. We are an experienced HVAC company serving Buckeye, Maricopa County, and the entire West Valley area. Trust our team of licensed, certified professionals to keep your Arizona home cool and comfortable all summer long. Call us at (602) 812-0648 or contact us online to schedule AC service today!