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Most of the important maintenance jobs for your air conditioner and heater must be handled by an HVAC professional. You only have to schedule inspection and tune-up visits twice a year—spring for the air conditioner, fall for the heater—and most of your maintenance worries will be taken care of.

There’s one exception: you need to regularly change/clean the HVAC system’s air filter on your own throughout the rest of year. You can ask you maintenance technician to show you how to do this during one of the maintenance visit. We’ve also provided a short guide below.

Changing/Cleaning the Filter

First, find the filter’s location. This varies from system to system and house to house, so you may have to search a few different spots until you find it. The most common place to find the filter is in a slot located where the return air duct connects with the HVAC system’s indoor cabinet. The duct may connect at the top, middle, or bottom of the cabinet. In some homes, the filter is located behind the grill of the return air vent inside the house.

For temporary filters (which we recommend, since they’re more effective than permanent filters) you only need to slide the filter from its slot and put in its replacement. Use a marker to write the date you replaced the filter on the side of the new one; this way you’ll always know how long has passed since the last change.

For permanent filters, remove the filter from the slot and then take it outside to wash it using a garden hose. Spray water through the filter on gentle pressure, and always direct the water through it the same direction that air flow through it. (Going the wrong direction may warp the filter’s baffles.) Leave the filter outside to air dry. Do not return to its slot until it is completely dry, otherwise it may attract mold and mildew.

How Often Do You Need to Change/Clean the Filter?

For a permanent filter, we recommend cleaning it every month. With inexpensive temporary panel filters, we recommend changing it every month. Pleated polyester filters can sometimes go 4 to 6 months before they need changing, but we suggest you check on it every 3 months to see how much congestion it has picked up.

For help with your HVAC system, call on Freedom Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We services Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.

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