Replacing your HVAC filters is perhaps the best thing you can do to improve your HVAC unit’s design, efficiency, and air quality. The next best thing is cleaning the filters to get rid of the dirt blocking the free and smooth passage of air.  

Maintenance of HVAC system usually occurs in the fall or spring, when temperatures start changing. Ideally, you want all maintenance work finished before it’s time to use your unit in the hot summer or cold winter conditions. As a rule of thumb, you only have to change out your HVAC filter within three months intervals for the best results. 

Most people rely on membership-based delivery services like Filter Easy to regularly swap out their filters. However, it also pays to know a thing or two about how to clean or manually replace your HVAC filters. 

Therefore, this post contains the vital tips you should follow. Let’s begin by understanding how HVAC filters work. 

Understanding The HVAC Filters And How They Work

HVAC Filter

Your air conditioning system works by moving air from its furnace into your home and throughout the house. In the process, the air filter of your HVAC collects dust and other particles. 

These clog the filter over time and gradually reduce airflow, negatively affecting the efficiency of your system. Your air conditioning system will have to put in extra work to move air through clogged air filters. 

But not to worry because that is the primary purpose of the air filters. They are meant to take out foreign materials in the air. According to the EPA in California, your HVAC design only has to periodically upgrade or replace your filter to improve your indoor air quality. 

Locating Your Filter

Generally, you will find your air filter in one of the following two places: 

  • Behind a wall-mounted or ceiling return air grille
  • The filter is found in the filter case at the blower compartment of your air conditioner or furnace.

Figuring Out The Right Size

HVAC Air Filter

Properties in California are electrically designed with proper planning. This makes choosing the right size and type of air filter easier. After you’ve located your HVAC filter, you need to figure out the size and type of air filter your system needs. Firstly, you can check your filter dimension by removing the current filter and measuring it. 

Pro Tip: While you’re removing the filter from your system, make a mental note of where the direction of the arrow on the filter’s edge face. It’s easy to ignore this minor detail. However, you’ll need it for the proper installation of the new filter. 

At times, you can find the dimensions of the filter by checking the edges. It’s generally written in length x width x height. You can resort to a tape measure if you don’t see the filter’s dimensions on the filter edge or frame. 

NB: After you measure the dimensions, you may have to round the figures up. Also, some HVAC manuals contain the dimensions. 

5 Tips For Changing Your HVAC Filter

  1. Power down your HVAC unit.
  2. Take off the access panel to enable you to reach the filter.
  3. Locate your old HVAC filter and gently remove it. 
  4. Carefully insert the new filter in place of the old one. Don’t forget the arrows on the sides of the filter. As earlier mentioned, they show you the direction of airflow. Therefore, the arrows and airflow should be in the same direction. 
  5. Put the access panel of your HVAC unit back in its place and power up the entire system. 

Now that you know how to replace your filters let’s find out the best way to clean them. 

5 Tips For Cleaning Your HVAC Filter

Cleaning Your HVAC Filter

If your system has a washable filter, you can save a few bucks simply by washing them instead of replacing the entire component. The only disadvantage most washable filters have is the higher likelihood of user error. 

They’re also not part of the home warranty plans of some manufacturers. These are the tips and steps required to wash out the dirt and particles clogging your HVAC filter. 

  • Switch off your furnace or air conditioner unit. 
  • Take off the access panel so you can have access to the washable filter.
  • Next, take out the HVAC filter. 
  • Place the filter on a clean surface or in the outdoor lawn and gently use water to spray it. Ensure that your water sprays it from the opposite direction of airflow because that’s where dirt usually accumulates. 

NB: It’s vital to avoid using water with intense pressure since this can widen the gaps in the fibers. 

  • Leave the filter to dry thoroughly before inserting it back into place. 

One final detail you should know, there’s no need to change your filter every 1-3 months if you own an electronic media filter. Instead, you should wait for 6-12 months. 


So there you go! Cleaning and changing your HVAC filter should no longer be a challenge. Sure, you can make the entire process a breeze with proper HVAC design and some amazing MEP engineering firms in California out there that can supply you with different types and sizes of filters all year round. 

However, stats show that two out of every three American households have air conditioning units. Therefore, you’ll need all their information and tips that will help make maintenance easier and quicker.