Your AC’s air filter is usually found in these 2 places:
1. Return register: This is a grille located on the ceiling or wall, where air enters your HVAC system.
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)
2. 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 the access the air filter.
Can’t find your air filter? Give us a call and we’ll help you find where the air filter is on your air handler.
So those are the most common places to find your air filter. Want to know how to replace it? Read on...
Now that you’ve found your AC’s filter, follow these basic steps to replace it:
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—we’re happy to help.
Do you notice some issues when you go to change your filter? You may need a professional’s help...
Sometimes, homeowners discover problems with their air conditioner once they change their air filter.
If you notice these 2 issues, you’ll want to contact a professional to fix them ASAP.
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:
1) Clean your ducts
2) Inspect your ducts for leaks. If they find any leaks or holes, they’ll repair them using mastic sealant or metal tape (in a process 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].”
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:
1. A frozen evaporator coil. Located in the air handler, the evaporator coil absorbs moisture from your home’s warm, humid air. But, if there’s low airflow or low refrigerant (the liquid that cools air) in your system, then that moisture can form ice on the coils. When the ice melts, it drips into the drain pan until it overflows, causing pools around the air handler.
An AC evaporator coil
2. A clogged condensate line. The condensate line is the pipe that collects moisture from the evaporator coil and then directs that water outside. If it’s clogged, it can overflow, which creates pools around your air handler. For steps on how to clear the condensate line yourself, read our article “What Do I Do if My Air Conditioner’s Drain Line is Clogged?” or call a professional to do it for you.
An AC’s condensate line. You can test to see if it’s clogged by pouring water in it, then going to to see if it’s draining outside.
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’s brand and model before you go to the store.)
Drain pan location in air handler
Contact George Brazil HVAC to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted AC technicians. We’ll help you with any filter questions and we’ll fix any AC issues you may have.