What to Do When the Filter Symbol Lights up on Your Air Conditioner

Freshwater resident, Annette asks
“Our air conditioning system is showing a replace filter message on the control panel. Does this mean we have to stop using the system, until we have it serviced? Is this true or can we still use it temporarily until we schedule a call out?”

Your aircon controller will periodically display messages. One which may cause you concern when you see it is the ‘time to clean filter’ message. It’s an automated notification alerting you to the fact that standard maintenance – as in cleaning the return air filter – is due.

There’s no reason to worry. It isn’t showing an alert because there is something wrong with the filter or that it is especially dirty; the signal is time-based, and will come on no matter what. Here’s how it works. The controller records how long (in terms of hours) the system has been running. When it reaches the allotted time set by the manufacturer, you will be reminded it is time to clean your airconditioner’s filters. So the more you use your aircon, the more regularly you will need to clean the filters.

If you are not working to the system’s automated time schedule to have your air conditioner maintained or have recently cleaned the filters anyway, you can ignore the message. Once you have observed the notification, you can reset the filter indicator to remove it. Simply press the exit button for three seconds, and it will disappear.

How often do air filters need to be cleaned?

There is a reason that the system bases the filter cleaning schedule on hours the air conditioner has been in use and operating, rather than by set weeks or months. As discussed, it’s because the more you run the AC system, the more often the filters should be cleaned.

It is usually sufficient to clean your filters with seasonal changes, at the beginning of Summer and the beginning of Winter. Suppose you are running your ducted airconditioning system more frequently or have pets? In that case, you may need to clean the filters more regularly, usually every three months, because more debris will accumulate in a shorter period. It’s always recommended a qualified technician cleans your air filters.

Cleaning the air filter removes microscopic dust particles, allergens and odours, and other particles that the air filter prevents from entering the system. When the air filters become clogged, it can affect the efficiency of the system. Putting a clean air filter into your air conditioner will lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%, so it’s definitely worthwhile. It will also put less strain on the system, thereby improving the lifespan.

Replacing the air filters

When our service technician inspects your system, they will let you know if the air filters can be cleaned or if it is time for the air filters to be replaced, which will likely be every three years. It is one of the many tasks we will perform when we are servicing your air conditioner.

The cost of replacing an air filter will depend on the type of filter you use in your system. They will likely range from $40 for a basic air filter up to $100. There are specialised systems designed specifically for people who suffer from allergies, such as HEPA filter Air Purifiers, which will naturally cost more. Those are on the higher end are usually used in environments where hospital standards are required.

Need to clean your air filters?

When the air filter notification alert is present, call PenAir to replace or clean the air filters. We recommend you chat with us about the benefits of regular maintenance, including cleaning the air filters and other parts of the system. We’re here to help you keep your aircon working efficiently and ensuring you get the comfort you expect in your home.

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