Don’t forget the filters: the key to an energy efficient and healthy home

We clean out our wardrobes, give the kitchen cupboards a good scrub and throw out the clutter we’ve accumulated. One thing that always gets neglected though, is our heat pump/air conditioner filters. Yes, they are only a small component of a bigger unit, but they play a very important role. These filters are the key to clean air, lower running costs and better energy efficiency for your home.

While your filter will require a bit of your attention, the good news is that they’re easy to clean. We’ve put together a few points to help you work out when yours needs refreshing (and how to do it!).

Why are filters so important anyway?
While cleaning filters can seem like a small, quite trivial detail, there are many reasons why you should bother giving them attention. Firstly, keep in mind the important role filters play in keeping your air clean. If you don’t believe us, just open your indoor unit and take a peek at your filter – you might be blown away by how much dust and debris they can accumulate. If you leave this in your unit, it can drastically affect the quality of the air you’re breathing. With allergens being pumped through your air, you could even end up feeling unwell (headaches, asthma symptoms and fatigue are all potential side-effects).

Another significant reason to check and clean your filters regularly is (surprisingly) cost. When a unit is clogged up with dirt, it needs to work a lot harder to do its job, which can result in higher energy bills. Dust and dirt can even get into the machine itself, causing costly breakdowns and premature failure.

How often will your filter need cleaning?
If you have never cleaned your heat pump filter, you’re not alone – many people simply don’t realise this needs to be done and haven’t been told otherwise. However, filters should really be cleaned every month in peak summer and winter months. It might sound like overkill, but you’d be surprised by just how much grime can build up in a very short space of time. The rest of the year, at the beginning of each season is generally sufficient.

How to keep your filters fresh.
1. Locate your heat pump filter. For a ducted system, the filter sits behind the return air grille in the ceiling, often located in a hallway. If you’ve got a split system, you’ll need to lift the front fascia cover and remove the filters to clean them.
2. Once you’ve found your filter, give it a good wash under a tap.
3. Leave your filter in the shade to dry completely before you reinstall it.
4. Make sure you don’t turn on your unit until the filter has been put back in its original place.
5. We suggest setting yourself a reminder to do it again in two/three months’ time.

If you still have the instruction manual that came with your heat pump, it’s also worth flicking through to see if it contains any specific instructions or tips on cleaning the filters for your unit.