How to Do an AC Filter Change – and Why You Should

An AC filter change is one of the most effective things you can do as part of your AC system maintenance. Most filters are readily accessible, and the process is homeowner-friendly. Simple, but a few tips will help you do it like a pro.

Locate the Filter Panel

Filters are in one of three places:

At a Wall or Ceiling Grille

  1. Wall and ceiling grilles have screws or latches to release the louvered center allowing it to pivot open to reveal the filter.
  2. If in the ceiling, be especially careful as parts can easily swing suddenly and cause injury. SAFETY FIRST – Always exercise ladder caution.

Behind a Panel on the Blower Unit

In the blower unit, there will typically be a panel with screws or latches. As you remove the filter access, note the direction of fit and how it aligns with other panels. Check gaskets to be certain they are in good condition.

In the Duct

If in the duct, there will also typically be a panel with screws or latches, and the same applies as when it is located behind a panel on the blower unit.

Check Direction

Most filters are labeled with a direction arrow or other notation of which way the air is to flow through the filter. It may not be apparent to the naked eye, but there is a lot of technology in filters. Filters are designed to “load” with dirt, so they fill to capacity and not just become coated with dirt. When air enters from the wrong direction, dirt settles only on the surface. The filter will be far less effective and will need to be changed more frequently. Take a moment to note and check the direction of airflow indicated on the filter.

Replace the Filter

OK, why mention this? Because there are a few things to check at this point:

  • Record your filter change date as well as the size, type, and where you purchased the filter.
  • If there is a maintenance tag on the equipment, write this information on the tag while you are there.
  • With a marker, label the filter panel and direction of airflow.

All these are easy to do while you are doing the job and will save time and effort next month.

Close Up Tight

Filter fit, gaskets, and panel fit were already mentioned. Take the time to obtain the correct fit. It is not unusual for the filter to fit snugly, and you may need to use the panel screws to draw it closed the last 1/8” or so. This means the gaskets are doing their job and there will be no air leaks. If the filter panel was sealed with tape (not uncommon), be certain to apply new tape. If you moved insulation, gaskets or wiring to access the filter, these must be restored.

Safe Disposal

Remember, the filter you took out is loaded with stuff you don’t want to breathe. It’s not exactly hazardous waste, but I have had sneezing fits from a carelessly-handled filter. Put the old filter in a bag or discard it in the trash as soon as possible. For your own health, it’s not something you want to keep around.

Call Complete Comfort

Our personnel is trained to provide you with the right advice for changing your filters. The ideal time to learn about filter replacement in your home is while the technician is there as part of your Comfort Club membership. They will gladly note size, type, airflow, and help you find a source for the filters you need.

We can help you breathe clean air and keep your air conditioner clean and worry-free for years to come. That is why we are called Complete ComfortCall us today at (561) 529-6262 or check out our website at