Filter Maintenance – Four Tips for Keeping Your Filter Clean

Filter Maintenance – Four Tips for Keeping Your Filter Clean

Maintenance – it’s the necessary evil attached to any electrical devices you have, and it’s something you have to do with your air filter to guarantee a long life. Yes, it’s boring. And yes, it means you have to spend some of your time on cleaning. But without it, you get an air filter that becomes so clogged up with dust and grime that it can’t do its job properly. The results? Poor quality air. Higher energy bills. Overheating components that burn out too quickly. You don’t want that, which is why these four tips for air filter maintenance will come in handy.

Tip 1 – Check (And Replace) Your Air Filter Media Regularly

Your air filter media is the small patch of cloth-like material that goes inside your AC or HVAC unit. In truth, it’s rarely pure cloth – it’s usually fiberglass, polypropylene, or activated carbon. But it’s the filter’s barrier. The part that catches particles so they don’t get recycled into the air.

And that makes it the most important part of your system.

Unfortunately, filter media doesn’t last forever (though polypropylene can be cleaned and reused), so you’ll need to replace it regularly. How regularly depends on the filter – some last for about 30 days, while others can last for nearly a year. Pleat count can be a good indicator here. A single-pleat filter media is usually done after about 30 days, whereas six-pleat media can last for close to a year. Regardless, check the media. Switch it out if it’s clogged.


Tip 2 – Use a Vacuum

Even with constant refreshing of your filter media, some dust and grime will usually build up inside your filter or HVAC system.

Your vacuum is your best friend here.

If you can, take your filter outside (though that’s often not possible with an HVAC unit). Open it up, then grab a vacuum with a soft brush attachment on the end. Slowly run the brush over the filter to dislodge any dust or grime build-up, and let the vacuum do its job of sucking up the loose particles.

Tip 3 – Keep an Eye on Ductwork

If your air filter is built into your HVAC system, there’s going to be ductwork in your home that the unit uses to regulate room temperatures.

That ductwork can become a problem.

For instance, failing to replace your filter media often enough creates dust buildup inside the ducts. Thankfully, the solution is simple – a vacuum with a brush attachment works well to clean up the dust.

More worrying is condensation.

When relative humidity in your room reaches the “dewpoint” – i.e., the point where moisture starts forming in ducts – you may experience mold and bacterial growth. Acoustical duct liners are especially vulnerable to this because they have thermal insulation, which raises the possibility of condensation.

Regular drying of your ductwork solves this problem. And remember – keep switching out your filter media on a regular schedule. And if it gets wet, it needs to be changed immediately.

Tip 4 – Call the Professionals

The three tips shared already cover some basic maintenance – cleaning and filter media replacement – but there is always the possibility of issues occurring in your HVAC system that you can’t see.

That’s where the experts come in.

Professional maintenance crews can spot problems with components and operation that may not be obvious to you. Granted, you have to pay a fee for this maintenance – usually a couple hundred dollars for a call-out. But when you consider that a full HVAC replacement can cost up to $34,000, that fee is a drop in the ocean seeing as it helps you stave off replacement for longer.

Maintenance Makes the Filter Dream Work

All it takes is a little attention on your part, with the occasional dash of elbow grease when cleaning.

That’s air filter maintenance in a nutshell – watch out for filter media issues, get rid of grime as it accumulates, and, when you need a set of expert eyes, call in the professionals.

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