Cleaning/Replacing an Air Conditioner/Furnace Filter

It is imperative to change or clean your air conditioner’s filter. The recommended guideline is either every one or two months during peak seasons. If it’s fall or spring and you’re not running your system constantly you could get away with three to four month intervals.  There are two types of air conditioner filters. You have your disposable filters and your permanent filters.

Cleaning or replacing your air conditioner won’t take long at all. In the example of a disposable filter the process may only take a minute or two and all that involves is pulling out the old filter, tossing it in the trash, unwrapping the new one, and then inserting it into your system. It is a very easy change. (Make sure your insert it the right way with the arrows pointing inwards.)

Permanent Filters

In the case of a permanent filter it may take a bit more time but the overall washing process should only take about five minutes. All you need to is either a broom or vacuum and a hose with a sprayer. The vacuum/broom is used to clean out the surrounding area once you have extracted the filter. This allows you to gather up any remaining dust or debris left in the system. It is recommended to use the vacuum/broom approach regardless if you’re dealing with a disposable or a permanent filter.

To clean your permanent filter all you need to do is take it out back and spray it with the hose until the dust and other materials have been removed. Then, let it dry and when it has sufficiently dried insert it back into your system.

While all of this is fairly easy, I will be the first to admit that I forget to change my filter. It is just one of those things you do not think about. I have been getting better at it but I still find myself going three or four months in between changes.

What Not to Do

The only things I can say here is do NOT be the guy who leaves their filter in for a year… or more. I’ve seen horror stories where an HVAC technician pulls out a filter that has been in the system for years. If they can even get the filter out it is a horrifying sight. Inches and inches of caked dust, hair, debris, and everything else you can think of. Once they replace the filter and vacuum out the insides of the system the homeowner notices right away that “It’s working again!” Don’t be this guy. Even if it’s every six months you should take the time to change the filter.


Your air conditioner and your furnace are some of the most expensive appliances in your home. It only makes sense to take care of them and to ensure that they last as long as they can. In today’s world a new AC and furnace could cost anywhere between six to twelve-thousand dollars.

By ensuring that your air conditioner filter is taken care of every few months you not only protect your system and investment but it also provides you clean air throughout your home. If you aren’t already, please take the time to clean or replace air filters not only for your health but also for your wallet!