Maintaining your air conditioner will extend the lifespan and efficiency of the unit. Replacement or cleaning of the filter helps to keep the air flowing through the system and into your home efficiently. Dirty filters in your air conditioner can cause the unit to work harder to push the air out, causing the air conditioner to die faster and not cool your home as quickly. Knowing how to remove the filter to clean or replace it will help you to maintain your system.

Hand holding screwdriver
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Removing a Window Air Conditoner Filter

Step 1

Disconnect the power from the air conditioner by unplugging the electrical cord.

Step 2

Remove the cover from the air conditioner. Depending on the model you own, you may need to remove two screws to loosen the cover and remove it. Or if the unit does not have screws, there will be a pull-tab to remove the cover. Pull down on the tabs to gain access to the filter.

Step 3

Gently remove the filter from the air conditioner. Most filters will simply slide right out; others are placed between the cooling coils and cover, and you can lift the filter out. Replace or clean the filter and re-install.

Removing a Central Air Conditioner Filter

Step 4

Disconnect the power on the central air conditioning unit by turning off the circuit breaker.

Step 5

Locate the furnace within your home. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the filter cover in place. The filter cover is found where the furnace and air duct meet; most models have the cover labeled "filter."

Step 6

Remove the filter cover, and pull out the filter. Your unit is now ready for a new filter or other maintenance if needed.