It’s that time of year when we like to get organised. We clean out our wardrobes, give the kitchen cupboards a good scrub and throw out the clutter we’ve accumulated. One thing that always gets neglected though, is our air conditioner filters. Yes, they are only a small component of a bigger unit, but they play a very important role. These filters are the key to clean air, lower running costs and better energy efficiency for your home.
While your filter will require a bit of your attention, the good news is that they’re pretty easy to clean or change. We’ve put together a few points to help you work out when yours needs refreshing (and how to do it!).
Why are filters so important anyway?
While replacing filters can seem like a small, quite trivial detail, there are many reasons why you should bother giving them attention. First of all, keep in mind the important role filters play in keeping your air clean. If you don’t believe us, just open up your indoor unit and take a peek at your filter – you might be blown away by how much dust and debris they actually accumulate. If you leave this in your unit, it can drastically affect the quality of the air your family is breathing. With allergens being pumped through your air, you could even end up feeling unwell (headaches, asthma symptoms and fatigue are all potential side-effects).
Another significant reason to check, clean and change your filters regularly is (surprisingly) cost. When a unit is clogged up with dirt, it has to work a lot harder to do its job, which can result in higher energy bills. Dust and dirt can even get into the machine itself, causing costly breakdowns and premature failure (not ideal on a Summer day!).
How often will your filter need replacing?
If you have never cleaned your aircon filter, you’re not alone – many people simply don’t realise this needs to be done, and haven’t been told otherwise. However according to Energy Star (www.energystar.gov), filters should really be cleaned or replaced every month in peak summer and winter months. It might sound like overkill but you’d be surprised by just how much grime can build up in a very short space of time. The rest of the year, at the beginning of each season is generally sufficient.
How to keep your filters fresh.
There are two kinds of filters: the ones can be washed and re-used, and the ones that are thrown away and replaced. Your first task is to work out which type your air conditioner unit has – if it’s a disposable filter, you can skip steps 2 and 3 below (just make sure you have a replacement filter before you get started).
1. Locate your air conditioner filter. For a ducted system, the filter sits behind the return air grille in the ceiling, often located in a hallway. If you’ve got a split system, you’ll need to lift the front fascia cover and remove the filters in order to clean them.
2. Once you’ve found your filter, give it a good wash under a tap.
3. Leave your filter in the shade to dry completely before you reinstall it.
4. Make sure you don’t turn on your unit until the filter has been put back in its original place.
5. We suggest setting yourself a reminder to do it again in two/three months’ time.
If you still have the instruction manual that came with your air conditioner, it’s also worth flicking through to see if it contains any specific instructions or tips on cleaning the filters for your particular unit.
Finding the right replacement.
Like vacuum cleaner bags, filters come in a variety of sizes and can also be made from either a resin based rigid filter, or a polyester based media fit into an aluminium frame. If you’d like a little guidance, Daikin has an After-Sales Support team who can help you work out which filter is right for your unit. Just give them a call on 1300 368 300 – it’s all part of the service!
Can’t be bothered with the whole filter fiasco?
There are some of us who just don’t have the time or inclination to do much household maintenance. If you fall into this camp, you may be interested to hear there IS such a thing as a ‘self-cleaning air conditioner’. Daikin’s US7 comes complete with a self-cleaning filter, which automatically collects and deposits dust into an internal dustbox for easy disposal. Pretty clever, huh? To check this model out, just head to daikin.com.au