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Clean an HVAC Filter

How to Clean an HVAC Filter?

March 2023

By Admin

Your HVAC units work efficiently if your air filters are in perfect shape. You need to hire the service of an HVAC professional, or you make it a DIY work. The best time to schedule preventive maintenance for your HVAC unit is during spring or fall, as during these seasons, you will best prepare for winter or summer.

Since you need your central air system to perform at peak during the cold or hot days and ensure your comfort, you need your home's air filters to get you that far. When your HVAC filter is dirty or damaged, the right thing you must do is to change it completely.

You can opt for disposable filters; you do not need to clean them but discard them once they are dirty. Otherwise, it would help if you consistently cleaned or changed your reusable air filters. Here is how to clean your HVAC filters.

How Do You Clean Your HVAC Filters?

Clean Your HVAC Filters

If you want a hassle-free summer or winter, clean your home's HVAC filters every month and replace them with new ones every half of the year. Always check to follow the producer's instructions to warrant an excellent way of cleaning the furnace or air conditioner filter. Except you are using a disposable filter, the following steps apply to how you can clean your HVAC air filters:

1. Locate the Filter by Turning off the HVAC Power

Locate the Filter by Turning off the HVAC Power

The first thing you must do is turn off the power of your HVAC unit before locating the filter. Doing this can prevent the spread of unfiltered air into your home during the cleaning. Locate air openings or vents before opening up the unit with your working tool. Most HVAC systems have multiple openings, and each of them comes with its filter. If you have this complex system, you must take your time and clean them. Take out the filters, check for ominous signs, and dispose of them if you no longer need them. If the filters are still in perfect condition, you only need to clean them.

2. Vacuum Your HVAC Air Filter

After removing the filter, avoid vacuuming inside the house, as it can circulate dust throughout your home. Therefore, it would be best if you took them outside. Keep the filter on the bare floor, facing up, and start cleaning.

You can use a vacuum that attaches to a soft brush to remove debris thoroughly. This helps in getting rid of excessive debris buildup in the filter. But, if your filter accumulates grime, more than vacuuming might be needed because the brush can only help loosen dust pileups.

3. Wash the Filter With Water and Vinegar

To remove deeper stains on the filter, you must have warm water and vinegar on the go. First, soak the filter for about an hour inside a large sink of an equal amount of distilled vinegar and warm water before using clean water to rinse. But, if your air filter is slightly dirty, you will not need to soak it since you can clean it perfectly by rinsing it with warm water.

If your HVAC air filter is too big and cannot fit inside a bucket or sink, you can opt for an outdoor or garden hose to clean it. However, ensure the setting is not on high pressure to prevent damaging the filter. You can use your fingers or soft materials to remove any leftover debris and let the water run slowly through your filter and across the airflow direction.

4. Allow the Filter to Dry Before Fixing it Back

Before replacing your filters, allow them to dry completely, as it can prevent mold problems inside your HVAC unit. When replacing the filter inside the unit, ensure you are doing that precisely and that the filter is facing the right direction for sufficient airflow.

Most manufacturers feature arrow marks for directions on removing and reinserting filters. Follow these markings to fix the filter correctly, as the arrow usually points toward the airflow direction. After inserting the filter, fix the vent and turn on the unit.

Why Is It Important for You to Clean Your Air Filters?

Your HVAC unit air filters are responsible for eliminating hazardous contaminants that pollute your indoor air. It also stands as a barrier against your furnace or air conditioner damage due to debris and dust, which are the main culprits for slowing down HVAC performance.

According to a World Health Organization WHO survey, over 1.6 million individuals lose their lives yearly due to interior air pollutants. Therefore, your HVAC service matters, as it stops pollen, dust, viruses, pet dander, bacteria, dirt, and other contaminants from spreading through your living space.

Compatible replacement or cleaning of your HVAC filter will significantly boost indoor air quality. It would help if you had a fresh and breathable environment to promote good health, extend the longevity of your heating and cooling unit, and maintain better operation.

What Are the Types of Air Filters Your HVAC Unit Can Use?

Your HVAC unit can use the following air filters:

  • UV Filters: Can eliminate bacteria and viruses that spread across your HVAC system.
  • Pleated Filters: They allow your HVAC unit to have a more extensive surface area for trapping more pollutants.
  • Electrostatic Filters: An electrostatic charge attracts dust and other airborne contaminants.
  • HEPA Filters: They help remove contaminants of all kinds, making them a perfect filter for individuals with respiratory problems.
  • Fiberglass Filters: These are disposable filters made to safeguard your HVAC unit. But they do only an essential task to improve indoor air quality.
  • Washable Filters: They might be the most expensive filters, but they also last longer than others because you can remove them for cleaning and fix them back.


Cleaning your HVAC air filters is a must-do task. However, follow the manufacturer's direction when carrying out the process, as you will see on your unit. If your filters are reusable but still show ominous signs, it would be best to replace them to avoid messing up your indoor air quality.

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  1. This blog post on regular HVAC maintenance is very informative and useful for homeowners who want to avoid expensive repairs and keep their HVAC systems running efficiently. What I particularly liked about this post was the emphasis on how preventative maintenance can help identify potential issues before they turn into major repairs, saving homeowners time and money. Thanks for sharing!