Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system keeps your home's air clean by trapping dust, pollen, germs, and other contaminants, but all those particles have to go somewhere. The system's air filter collects much of this buildup, which can eventually start to interfere with the unit's efficiency, increase your utility bills, and even compromise your home's air quality. Learning how to clean an air conditioner filter or furnace filter is a key part of regular maintenance that can keep the system running smoothly and ward off a costly breakdown.
However, cleaning your home's air filters will only get you so far. If the filter is excessively dirty, torn, or otherwise damaged, it's time to replace your air filter. You should also note that disposable air filters (which are typically set in a cardboard frame) are generally not meant to be cleaned and should be replaced when they become dirty. Cleaning works best with reusable filters, like this washable electrostatic furnace and AC accessories.