Clean Your Filters – It’s Easy

More often than not as the summer months set in, we get constant phone calls from tenants saying the “A/c is leaking”, and during the winter months, “the ducted heating isn’t blowing hard enough”. Not only that, we get the old grizzle about the dishwasher not draining or that it needs a service. Well, the solution is often very simple and should be part of all tenants’ cleaning regimes. This helps ensure that the appliances work properly, but also ensures that they are maintained to an acceptable standard, meaning that the appliances get a longer and more efficient life.

Air conditioners need their filters cleaned regularly. I make the effort to clean mine at least every 3 months.. It’s a very simple process; all you need to do is open the front flap (of the split system type, see photo below) and pull out the filters. Then, grab the vacuum and just give them a quick vacuum over. You can also take the filters to the outside hose and give them a good squirt. But, be sure to wait until they are well and truly dry before putting back into place.

For ducted heating, you would be surprised how quickly the filter will get clogged up and reduce performance of the heater. The main reason they tend to get clogged up more than air conditioners is because the intake is usually at ground level and is therefore exposed to more dust, hair and other gunk that will get trapped by the filter.Cleaning filters regularly will not only make the air conditioner much more effective and cost less to operate, it will also reduce any lint that may getting into the drainage system that will block and start leaking (causing damage to property). For the older style “in the wall” air conditioners, the process is just as simple, open the front flap (it should be very obvious where this is), pull out the filter and follow the same process to clean the filters. If these devices are used for heating as well as cooling you will need to keep the filters clean all year round, not just while cooling during summer.

Another appliance that is often, if not always, over looked is the dishwasher. Yes, there is a filter in a dishwasher – sometimes even two. These must be cleaned regularly, every 3 months Locate the filter in the dishwasher and monitor it every wash, make sure no gunk has built up to reduce the ability of the machine to not only clean efficiently but clear away the dirty dish water. These filters will very easily slip out, usually with a gentle twist, and only require a rinse under the tap. Another good idea is to regularly use a specific cleaning product that you can buy from the supermarket. It will give the interior of the dishwasher a good hard clean, takes no effort at all, and make sure your machine works to its best capacity and causes as few problems for you as possible.To clean ducted heating filters simply find the air intake, it will be a large panel most likely on the side of a wall, it may be in a cupboard, or sometimes even on the roof (so you may need to have a hunt around). The panel will pull open and you will be able to slide the filter out. These filters will usually have a different structure to the air conditioner filters and will be best cleaned by using the vacuum cleaner only. To have your ducted heater working most efficiently and productively, it is a good idea to vacuum these filters every month at a minimum, and if you have pets, even more regularly – pet hair is a shocker for heating filters.

YouTube.com is a great way to find out how to do any maintenance/cleaning work on these appliances is to simply search “how to clean a filter on Rinnai gas heater” (as an example). You will always find something simple to guide you through, even if you can’t find the exact model or perfect match to your query.

By keeping your heaters, air conditioners and dishwashers clean and well maintained, you will be able to keep your electricity and or gas costs down. At the same time, you are ensuring that you are you properly looking after your landlord’s equipment.