Clean HVAC filters has several perks: Keep the air in your home clean and free of allergens and dust. This is especially important for families with pets, or people with allergies or respiratory issues such as asthma. Dirty air filters will circulate dust and allergens through your HVAC system, spreading them through your home.

How to Clean an AC Filter | HGTV

How to Clean an HVAC Filter

Follow these steps to clean your reusable HVAC air filter:

  1. Turn off your HVAC unit.

  2. Look for the service panel on your unit to find the filter (some units may have multiple filters, so make sure you’ve checked all vents).

  3. Place the filter on the ground facing up and vacuum as much of the dust and debris as possible. This should remove most of the dust and loose debris. If your filter has grime buildup, move on to step 4.

  4. If you need a deeper clean, fill your sink with one part vinegar and one part warm water, then let your filter soak for an hour. If your HVAC filter is only mildly dirty, place the filter in a sink or bathtub and rinse thoroughly with warm running water. You can also use an outdoor hose on your filter—just make sure that you aren’t using any pressurized settings as this could damage your filter. Use your hands or a soft brush to rub away any remaining debris.

  5. Let the filter dry thoroughly before reinserting.

Even if you have a reusable air filter, they need to be replaced when showing signs of wear and tear. Make sure to check your air filter for excessive grime, tears, holes, or other signs of damage.


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