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Stop Suffocating Your AC: How to Clean Your Filter

Home > QRC Blog > Stop Suffocating Your AC: How to Clean Your Filter

dirty ac filter

Air conditioners do more than cool your space — they also help regulate humidity by circulating air throughout your home. This is especially important during the humid Winston-Salem summers. Something as simple as a dirty AC filter can wreak havoc on your system, even leading to an untimely breakdown.

Read on to learn more about AC problems from a dirty filter and best practices for AC filter maintenance.

Could a Dirty Filter Be Sabotaging Your AC?

A clogged AC filter can lead to problems with your air conditioning unit. Suspect a clogged air filter if you’re experiencing any of these AC issues:

  • Higher energy bills
  • Short cycling
  • Decreased air quality
  • Inadequate cooling

An AC filter replacement may resolve these issues if you haven’t changed your filter in the last three months or an inspection uncovers a clogged filter. If you don’t notice an improvement in your system after you change the filter, call a QRC HVAC professional for AC service and repair.

Why a Dirty Filter Isn’t Just an Inconvenience

An AC filter helps improve indoor air quality by keeping outdoor air particulates from entering your system. A clogged filter inhibits airflow across your condenser coils. Without adequate airflow, the system overheats, leading to short cycling and your AC not cooling well.

AC airflow problems cause the system to work harder, driving up electricity bills and increasing wear and tear on the unit. An overworked system can lead to frequent and costly repairs.

If you’re experiencing frequent repairs, it might be time to consider an AC replacement. By choosing a high-efficiency model, you can take advantage of ENERGY STAR rebates, which offer short-term and long-term savings.

The Solution: Change Your Filter & Consider Maintenance

Change your AC filter at least every three months for optimum efficiency. Consider changing it more frequently during wildfire and allergy season to ensure AC indoor air quality. Turn the power off before performing any maintenance on your system. 

In addition to changing the filter, remove debris from the outside unit, clear vents and ducts, wipe down condenser fins with a warm, damp cloth, and use condensed air to remove dust from internal components. 

The best way to get the most out of your AC system is to have an HVAC technician perform regular air conditioning maintenance. The team at QRC is standing by to help with all your HVAC needs. Our maintenance visits include:

  • Full inspection and parts testing 
  • System component cleaning
  • Lubricant top-ups as needed
  • AC filter replacements as needed
  • System optimization

Visit our website for details about our air conditioning maintenance visits

Get Expert Advice With QRC

A dirty AC filter can increase your energy bills, lead to poor air quality, overwork your system, and eventually cause a breakdown — usually during the hottest days of summer. 

Contact the pros at QRC HVAC and Refrigeration for quality service and repairs and expert advice on your AC system. We have over 50 years of experience servicing Winston-Salem and the surrounding North Carolina area.

Our technicians are insured, licensed, and bonded. Our team members go above and beyond, taking additional professional development courses beyond the minimum requirements. Our customers love our work — check out our five-star reviews.

Do your research before hiring a service repair person. A quality HVAC repair company should be happy to answer your questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my AC filter is dirty?

Visually inspect your filter every month. By month three, you should notice a build-up of dust and particulates in the filter and surrounding housing. If your filter is over three months old, you should change it. Thicker filters can last longer. Consider changing your filter more frequently for improved indoor air quality when there’s a high count of heavy airborne particulates during fire and allergy season. 

Can I clean my AC filter instead of replacing it?

You can’t clean a disposable air filter. Vacuuming only removes the exterior dirt, as they’re designed to trap dust and particles inside. Washing with water can lead to mold and mildew growth. Keep the area around your unit clean to help improve airflow, but for optimum performance, replace your filter as recommended by the manufacturer.

Will changing the AC filter lower my energy bills?

If your air filter is extremely clogged, changing it can potentially lower your energy bills. However, regular maintenance — such as filter changes — won’t noticeably lower your energy bills, but it can keep your system operating efficiently and prevent your bills from increasing. The best way to save money is to invest in a high-efficiency ENERGY SAVER system and have professional maintenance service once a year.

Is changing my AC filter something I can do myself?

You can change the air filter in your AC system, but some systems are easier than others. Review the instruction manual for your AC unit to learn how to change your dirty AC filter and other maintenance tips.