Cleaning Air-conditioning Filters

Cleaning Air-conditioning Filters

Air conditioning systems, especially in the Australian summers are a essential item for any home that is lucky to have one, but most people don’t read the instructions beyond basic operation, and the installer doesn’t inform the customer of the appropriate maintenance procedures they should be taking to get the most of their new system.

Have you noticed that;

  • Your electricity bill is larger then usual?
  • That your allergies are playing up more frequently?
  • That your air-conditioning system doesn’t seem to be cooling as quickly or as well as it used to?

If you answered YES to any of these questions then your air-conditioning filter could be dirty and may need a cleaned or replaced.

There are many benefits in making sure your aircon is properly serviced and cleaned at regular intervals, these can include health benefits, lowering the cost of your electricity bill and the prolonged life of the system itself.

AIR-CONDITIONING EFFICIENCY

One of the most important maintenance tasks that you should be doing to improve the efficiency of your air-conditioning system is to regularly clean the filters on your system. Dust build up on the filters will start to interfere with the airflow of the system causing it to not work efficiently and make the system overall work harder.

A dirty filter could cause your air-conditioning system to work up to 15% less efficient and add strain onto its compressor. This will result in less efficient cooling, higher electricity bills and decrease in the system life.

When cleaned, your air-conditioner will work more efficiently by cooling the room faster and it will keep its preset temperature more accurately

The air filter in your air-condition system should be checked at least once a month, and cleaned or changed no more then every 3 months. If the environment is dirty or has pets then we recommend cleaning it monthly to account for the extra dust and pet hair it will be catching.

HEALTH BENEFITS

The filter in your air-condition unit catches dust and dirt, but if neglected it can harbour mould and bacteria which can be sucked into the system and back out into the air of the room you are trying to cool. People with allergies and asthma may notice a increase in symptoms and attacks in rooms with air-conditioners that are not regularly serviced but may not necessary realise or attribute the cause to the air-condition system.

For the health of your family in your home, or the staff in your office you should schedule monthly filter inspections in your calendar or talk to your cleaner to add it into the cleaning contract.

TYPES OF AIR-CONDITIONING UNITS

There are two main types of air-conditioning units that you typically find in a home or office;

  1. Wall Unit (Standard)
  2. Central Heating

Wall units are what you typically find in most homes with a compressor outside of the house that connects to a unit on the wall on the inside. These usually have two slide out filters that are washable.

Central Air Units general found in offices will have ducting along the roof or walls, with vents at a defined distance between each other. These will usually require a ladder to access and come with washable and non-washable filters.

WALL-UNIT CLEANING

Cleaning a wall-unit air-conditioning filter is a simple process and it doesn’t require any special tools or chemicals.

  1. Most wall mounted units will have a faceplate that will lift up to reveal the filters. Search the front and sides of the unit for tabs or finger indents that will indicate where you should pull the faceplate. These are generally held in by a clip so a little bit of force may be required to dislodge the faceplate for the unit.
  2. Once opened you will see one or two filters that have convenient tabs to help you remove the filters. Pull the tabs and the filters should slide out of units guide rails. Take note of the orientation of the filters so you don’t put them in backwards once they’re cleaned.

    AC1

    Left: Wall Unit Right: Opened Lid showing the filters

This is a good time to inspect the fins of the air-conditioning unit. The fins are located behind where you had just removed the filters. Visually inspect the fins and make sure that there are not too many that are bent or damaged. If you do find some are damage then you can purchase a fin-comb to straighten the fins out. This step isn’t extremely important but our goal is to keep the airflow of the unit as efficient as possible and bent fins will block air flow.

3. Take the filters outside and use a brush to clean the dust off the filter panels. Once you have removed as much dust off as possible take a hose or place the filters under a sink and wash the filters with soapy water. Leave outside to dry before putting them back into the air-conditioner unit.

4. Before placing them back into the unit its a good idea to brush off the faceplate of any dust and give it a wipe down. When brushing inside the unit, be careful not to bend any of the fins under the filter assembly.

5. Place the filters back into the unit making sure they are in the right direction and secured tightly. Close the faceplate and press firmly until you hear the click of the faceplate clipping back in to its spot.

6. Turn on the unit and check that everything is working correctly then you are done. Enjoy your fresh clean air.

Check the user manual that came with your unit for specific cleaning instructions for that unit

CENTRAL AIR SYSTEM CLEANING

The filters in central air systems are generally located along corridors and are easily spotted by the vents or grills on the ceiling of the building. Although it may look more complicated, it is basically the same process as wall mounted units except it also has vents which can capture dust adding another layer of resistance for airflow.

  1. Firstly take a broom and brush off the vents on the ceiling. This is important as you will be opening that vent and the last thing you want to do is get a face full of dust.
  2. Once cleaned, open the vent and depending on the design you may be able to remove the vent completely or it will hang down on hinges. Brush the other side of the vent now that you have access to it to make sure the vent is completely free of dust. This will ensure proper airflow into the system.
  3. Carefully remove the filter inside the ceiling. Again, depending on the type of system you have installed, these filters may either be ones you have to replace completely, or they are able to be cleaned.

    AC2

    Left: Vents of Central Systems | Right: Open vents showing filter.

If the filters are made out of mesh and metal then you can be safe knowing that they are washable. If they are just made out of fibres then you may have to replace it with a new one.

Tip: Ask your local air-conditioning specialist for re-usable filters. These may be more expensive but will save you money in the long run as they are washable and not single use.

5. Replace the new or cleaned filter back into the ceiling and close the vent and secure it into place.

6. Repeat the whole process for every vent you have in your building.

It couldn’t be simpler. 

Remember that this is only the basic level of maintenance that you are performing to your air-conditioning system and that you should at least once a year call out a professional technician to come inspect and service the rest of the system and keep it running at 100% efficiency.

Mustard Stains

Mustard is a great condiment when paired with delicious meat in a sandwich, marinated on chicken or on top of a hotdog that you’re about to enjoy, but it isn’t as well received when accidents happen and it ends up on your clothes, walls or furniture.

Without the right techniques, trying to clean up mustard spills could just spread the problem literally and you could end up with a bigger mess then you had originally started with.

 

MUSTARD: THE RUN DOWN.

Mustard or Mastarde which comes from latin – Mustum (the seeds were ground with Must) and Ardens  (Hot) is a condiment made up of mustard seeds that are mixed with various liquids and spices.

These spices are the main cause of staining when it comes to mustard. Yellow mustard in general contains Turmeric which is used as a dye in many foods like cheese, yogurt and margarine to give it colour and to protect it from sunlight, but it is also used as a dye in clothing.

These dye properties is what stains anything it touches and why its essential to attend to the problem as soon as possible.

 

CLEANING MUSTARD OFF WALLS AND FLOORS.

The most important thing to remember is NOT to panic. When mustard gets spilt the first thing people do is panic and try to rub the mustard off the surface its on – this is bad.

Stay calm and follow these steps.

 

1. Don’t wait: Mustard stains easily, so if possible try to attend to the problem as soon as possible to avoid permanent stain. It will be much easier to clean up mustard before it dries and hardens.

2. Remove excess mustard: Grab a spoon and scrape away any excess mustard from the surface then use a paper towel or cloth and lightly dab the mustard to remove whats remaining. Frequently fold the paper towel to a fresh spot to avoid spreading accidently.

WARNING: Do not rub the mustard stain as this will only spread the stain.

3. The Cleaning Solution: Mix White Vinegar with a bit of warm water and use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the mustard off the surface. Sometimes, depending on how old the stain is, it can beneficial to dab the white vinegar water solution on the stain and leave it for a minute so it can start to dissolve the turmeric in the mustard.

Handy Tip: Make sure to regularly rinse the sponge to prevent spreading the stain.

For stubborn spots you can use a green scourer and gently rub the areas that need that extra attention. Apply more pressure slowly but do this at your own risk as the scorour can damage your paintwork.

4. Final wipe down: When you have removed as much of the stain as possible, change the water and this time put a bit of detergent in and use a new sponge to do a final pass over the stained area to remove any vinegar residue that is left.

Remember, depending on the life of the stain, it may not be possible to remove all signs of the stain but following these tips you will be able to dramatically lighten the stain to a point it may be hardly visible.

If it is important to you that the wall be perfectly clean and you have tried the above method a few times then you may have to hire a profession cleaner to come in. They will have harsher chemicals that will be able to help remove more of the stain.

 

CLEANING MUSTARD OFF CLOTHES AND FURNITURE.

Ever had your favourite outfit ruined by a stain? It can easily ruin your night and can be expensive to take it to a dry cleaners to get it professionally cleaned and a stain on the couch will also set you back a bit if you need to call someone out to clean it for you.

Following these tips could just save you the money and stress in cleaning some of your more expensive possessions. 

  1. Remove excess mustard: Use a spoon or a knife to scrape away any excess mustard off the item – avoid rubbing the stain as it will case it to spread.
  2. The Cleaning Solution: Mix up White Vinegar and water into a spray bottle. If the stain is on clothing, place something under the stain or try to seperate the stain section from the rest of the clothing so it doesn’t spread if the solution accidentally drips or runs.
  3. Clean the stain: Spray some of the vinegar solution onto the stain and let it sit for a minute then lightly dab the stain with a cloth or paper towel, regularly folding it to a clean section to avoid spreading the stain. Repeat as many times as needed.
  4. The final wash: Hopefully the stain is now mostly removed. The final stage is a pre-wash and wash.

If the stain is on clothing, fill up the sink with warm soapy water and a bit of bleach (colour safe bleach if the item has colour in it) and place the item in there to soak before placing it into the washing machine for a normal wash.

If the stain is on furniture then mix some warm soapy water into a spray bottle and spray the stain cleaned area, rub it in with a cloth, then use a dry clean cloth to dab it dry.