How To Clean A Ducted Air Conditioner Filter In 7 Easy Steps

The primary purpose of air conditioning is to provide a comfortable temperature. So, it’s obviously less than desirable when a unit is running too hot - or too cold. Unfortunately, the reality of this is very common!

While there can be a myriad of reasons why an air conditioner isn’t functioning at its intended temperature, dirty filters are one of the most common reasons. 

One of the most straightforward ways to ensure your air conditioner is running properly is to clean the filter on your ducted air conditioner. Below, we explain seven important steps that should be followed when conducting an air filter clean.

Why it's important to clean your ducted air conditioning filter regularly

It’s common knowledge that air conditioning filters should be cleaned regularly in order for the system to function properly. However, it’s quite common for homeowners to be unsure exactly how to clean a filter. That being said, if a dirty filter is left for too long, it can cause problems and eventually cause long-term damage to your unit. Running an air conditioner with a dirty filter is the equivalent of driving your car around with the hand brake on.

One of the first signs of a dirty filter is when the system struggles to cool properly. When this happens, the unit will consistently work to try and cool the area. This not only causes high power bills but also puts a lot of wear and tear on the unit - reducing its lifespan.

The reason this happens is that a dirty filter allows less air flow to enter the system because the filter is blocked with debris and dust. If a dirty filter is left for too long, it’s not uncommon for the system to break completely.

 Besides reducing the life of your ducted air conditioning unit, a dirty filter can cause various problems, like a clogged drain line, potentially leading to leaks and ceiling damage.

Another reason it’s essential to clean your ducted air conditioning filter regularly is that it collects dust, dirt, pet hair, air particles and pollen. After all, the point of an air conditioning filter is to sift out dirty particles so that they can distribute clean air.

When these particles block the entrance to the air conditioner, the air quality is affected and the air that’s sent back into the room may be contaminated by it. This is especially detrimental to those who suffer from allergies, and the dirty air can cause sore throats, runny noses, sneezing and more.

How to clean your ducted air conditioning filter

 A qualified air conditioning technician can easily clean a filter for you. However, if you feel confident cleaning it yourself, then you can follow the below steps. 

If you are sensitive to dust or have any sort of allergies, it’s a good idea to wear respiratory protection.

*Please note that while it’s possible to reuse a filter multiple times, some people prefer to use a new filter every time.

1) Disengage the fixing that is securing the hinged return air grille to the frame. It will either be a sliding clip or screw that can be located on one of the sides of the grille face.

2) In order to prevent the grille face from freely swinging downwards and distributing dirty or debris from the filter, make sure to support the grille face while removing the clips or screws.

3) Find which way the filter can be slid out from and do so. 

4) Once the filter is removed, bring your filter to a hose and gently spray the filter from the clean side - going from top to bottom in a side-to-side motion. Then turn the filter over and do the same on the dirty side - pushing all the dirt to the bottom and off the filter frame.

5) Shake (fling) as much water from the filter as possible

6) Bring the filter to a warm or sunny area and allow it to dry completely.

7) Reinsert the filter back into its frame and secure the grill with its screws or clips that were removed in step 1.

How often should I clean my ducted air conditioning filter?

How someone should clean their ducted air conditioning filter varies from house to house - and largely depends on how often the unit is turned on. 

A household that doesn’t use its ducted air conditioner shouldn't have much air running through the filter, and therefore, it won’t need to be cleaned as often as a household that continuously runs its air conditioning. 

As a general rule, we recommend filters be cleaned at least annually and more frequently if the system is subject to heavy use. However, the regularity of filter change also depends on the surrounding environment. For example, a house that is located next to a busy (and dusty)road will need its filter cleaned much more regularly than a house on the coast with no dust sources nearby.

Additional tips on ducted air conditioning system maintenance

Regularly cleaning the ducted air conditioning filter is one of the simplest ways to maintain your unit. Plus, an air conditioner with clean filters will circulate quality air and resultin lower power bills.

While it’s possible for a homeowner to clean their own filter when they’re properly informed on how to do so, it’s highly recommended that a trained professional should conduct regular service and attend to other air conditioning-related problems.

A service will generally involve a filter change and cleaning and assessment of the unit - including checking refrigerant levels. All of these factors contribute to ensuring that an air conditioning unit is running at its full potential.

Time to call the experts?

If you are interested in having your air conditioner cleaned by a professional, then we have a team of experts who can help. Get more information on our air conditioning cleaning services here.

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