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How Often Should I Clean My Air Conditioner Filters

3 minute read

HEPA filter

Ever wake up from what should have been a restful night sleep only to wake up with a cocktail of cold and flu symptoms? From a nasty cough or stuffed up nose to a pounding headache and itchy eyes, these symptoms often have a common source… your air conditioner. 

A lot of people are addicted to their air conditioners, they need it to sleep in the hot summer months and even the noise of the fan in cooler seasons can provide much needed white noise. But, what many people do not realize is that their air conditioner is making them sick.

Do Air Conditioners Make you Sick?

It’s a common misconception that AC sickness is due to exposure to cold air for an extended period of time, well this is mostly false. While an AC chilled room won’t do you any favors if you are already sick; it is not the cold air that makes us sick even in the summer, but the dust and pollution hiding inside of our air conditioners. 


You see, your average ductless split AC is not bringing in fresh air into your home and cooling it, rather it is recycling the existing air in your home and pushing it back at out your desired temperature. When this happens a number of common indoor air pollutants are sucked into the top of your air conditioner. 

So, if my AC already has a filter, then whats the issue?

First off, yes your air conditioner has a built in screen filter that is capable of stopping airborne pollutants but its mesh really is only fine enough to stop large particles like visible dust. I challenge you to open up your split AC right now and look at the state of your AC filters, I bet that unless you cleaned them in the last 3 months, they are covered in a layer of dust.

What is in Dust 

The dust bunnies and floating particles you see in your everyday life are comprised of a number of nasty things.

Well first off there is dirt, brought in from our time outside which mixes in with dead skin cells, hair, clothing fibers, bacteria, dust mites, dead bug parts, pollen, pet dander and microscopic specks of plastic. And these are just the pollutants visible to the naked eye.


So, while your air conditioner will stop the larger molecules of these pollutants, it’s filter is not designed to stop airborne micro pollutants like PM2.5 & PM10 (particulate matter).

How to Clean your Air Conditioner filters?

It’s quite simple, truly.

Step 1: Remove


Using a chair or ladder access the front panel of your split air conditioner unit and remove the AC filters.

Step 2: Wash


With a sponge or bristled brush, run the filters under water and scrub the dust off

Step 3: Dry


Let the air conditioner filters dry and reinstall them into your AC unit

Many HVAC technicians recommend that you clean your air conditioner filters once every 3 months to ensure that you do not breathe in harmful pollutants. Another note, make sure that you wear a mask and properly ventilate your home before removing the filters to avoid breathing in any of the dust.

Why Should you Clean your Air Conditioner Filters

I mean you don’t have to… but if you care about the respiratory health of yourself and loved ones it’s a very easy and effective solution. If the idea of getting your hands dirty doesn’t sound exactly appealing to you, scheduling a HVAC technician to service and clean your air conditioner is always a safe bet.

Add an additional layer of protection to your AC

Many people are becoming increasingly conscious about the importance of protecting their indoor air quality. And as we spend 90% of our days indoors ensuring that we are only breathing clean air is becoming increasingly important. So, what can we do to protect ourselves?

Standalone Air Purifiers

A common solution that many people have begun adopting is employing an air purifier to actively clean their air at home. The drawbacks to an air purifier is that they often have limited efficacy beyond the room where they are stationed. Additionally they can become quite costly. 

That being said, a smart air purifier can be an extremely effective tool in protecting the air you breathe at home. App controlled smart air purifiers that have built in air quality sensors can be scheduled and automated to clean your air when air pollution levels become unhealthy. 

Antiviral AC Filters

A more economical solution is to invest in disposable antiviral air conditioner filters. These are applied to your existing air conditioners filters to add an extra layer of antiviral, micro-pollutant stopping protection. These filters are capable of trapping bacteria, viruses, mold spores, pollen and other airborne irritants that can cause damaging health effects. These filters last for 3 months only costing a couple of dollars to replace.

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