If you’ve never changed your air filter (or haven’t done so in a while), you may need a quick refresher on how to do it.
You’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you all the information you need to do this important maintenance task yourself.
In this article, we’ll explain:
Let’s start by looking at where you can find the AC filter.
Want a professional to help you find or replace your AC filter? We can help. Call (602) 842-0009 or schedule an appointment online today.
Your AC filter is usually found in these 2 places:
Return vent with grate in place (on the left) and open return vent without the grate where you can see the filter and ductwork (on the right)
Air handler: This is the indoor part of your AC system, where your home’s air is actually cooled. It’s generally located in your attic, basement, closet or crawlspace.
This air handler has a filter base under the unit
The air filter might be on top, below or on the side of the air handler, depending on what kind of air handler you have. Keep in mind your air filter may fit in a small slot near where the return duct connects with the blower fan, or behind a service door on the back of the air handler. You may need to unscrew the service door to access the air filter.
Can’t find your air filter? Give us a call or schedule an appointment online and we’ll help you find where the air filter is on your air handler.
Now that we discussed the most common places to find your air filter, let’s look at how to go about changing your filter.
After you’ve located your AC filter, the first thing you’ll want to do is check to see if it’s dirty. Take the filter out and visually inspect it.
Does the filter look dirty, like the one pictured below? If so, it’s definitely time to replace it.
A dirty air filter
To replace the filter, follow the steps outlined below:
Make sure the arrows on the air filter point AWAY from the house, towards the air handler.
Having trouble replacing your filter? Give us a call or schedule an appointment online—we’re happy to help.
Sometimes, homeowners discover problems with their air conditioner as they change the air filter.
If you notice these 2 issues, you’ll want to contact a professional for assistance ASAP.
#1: Excessive dust in return ducts
When you take off the return vent grille, do you see a layer of dust inside the air duct?
If so, you may have very dirty ducts. Extremely dirty ducts are usually caused by leaks in the ductwork.
An example of leaky ductwork. Leaks pull dust from the attic into the ductwork.
You see, if your ducts are leaky, then dust from unconditioned spaces like attics and walls can easily enter the ducts. Then, this dust is blown into your home when you use your AC, and it often collects around the return vent.
If you notice a lot of dust, contact a professional to:
2) Inspect your ducts for leaks. If the technician finds any leaks or holes, they’ll repair them using mastic sealant or metal tape (this process is called duct sealing).
Don’t be surprised if your home has duct leaks—according to ENERGY STAR, most homes lose about 20–30% of the air that moves through the ducts to leaks, holes or poorly connected ducts.
Want to learn more about duct sealing? Read our blog article, “Why Does My Home Get So Dusty So Fast? [FAQ].”
#2: Water around air handler
If your air filter is located in the attic or basement near the air handler, you may notice water around your air handler.
Water around the air handler likely means you have 1 of these 3 AC issues:
An AC evaporator coil
A leaky drain pan. Your AC drain pan catches moisture that drips off your evaporator coil. If the pan rusts out and leaks, water will collect around your air handler.To replace a bad drain pan, go to the nearest home improvement store and purchase a replacement pan. Not sure which drain pan to get? Just contact a professional or ask the store clerk for help. (Make sure you know your AC brand and model before you go to the store.)
Drain pan location in air handler
If you leave a dirty air filter in your AC for a long time, you can expect problems such as:
To avoid these expensive problems, HVAC professionals recommend that you check the air filter every month, and replace it if it’s dirty. In the dusty summer season when we use our air conditioners non-stop, it’s not uncommon to have to change the filter every month.
One of our trusted AC technicians can answer any filter questions you have, or replace the filter for you. When you work with George Brazil, you can count on upfront prices and 5-star service for every AC maintenance project or repair.