How to Clean a 14x20x1 Air Filter for Optimal Performance

Learn how to clean your 14x20x1 air filter for optimal performance and maintain higher indoor air quality. Find out how often you should replace your filters.

How to Clean a 14x20x1 Air Filter for Optimal Performance

Keeping your home's air clean is essential for maintaining a healthy environment. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system helps to trap dust, pollen, germs and other contaminants, but all those particles have to go somewhere. When HVAC filters become dirty and clogged with dirt, air can't flow freely through the ducts, making your home less comfortable and, over time, can ruin your HVAC equipment. To ensure optimal performance of your air filter, it is important to clean it regularly.

If the air filter requires a deeper cleaning, fill the sink or a large bucket with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. You may need a screwdriver or a clamp to open a hatch or cover to get to the filter, but this is often not the case. Installation is usually as simple as sliding or removing the old, dirty filter and then sliding the clean filter through the same slot. Be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions to determine the best way to clean the air conditioner or oven filter, but the steps below apply to most reusable filters. You should also bear in mind that disposable air filters (which are usually placed in a cardboard frame) are generally not designed to be cleaned and must be replaced when they become dirty.

Any pleated air conditioning filter can improve your home's indoor air quality by trapping dust, pollen and other small particles, as with a quieter, more passive vacuum. The secret is that they can capture tons of waste using a relatively porous filter material, thanks to the enormous surface area of dirty air, through which approximately four times more filter material passes than a 1-inch filter. Learning how to clean an air conditioning filter or boiler filter is an essential part of regular maintenance, as it allows the system to operate smoothly and avoid costly breakdowns. For best results, plan to clean your home's air filters about once a month and replace them about every six months. Be sure to install the new filter facing in the right direction; look for arrows on the filter frame that indicate the direction of the air flow. You may need to replace the filter more often if you have some very furry pets, for example, or if you live in an area with a lot of air pollution, for example due to wildfires.

If the filter is too large to fit inside a sink or bucket, use a garden hose to wash it and let the water flow through the filter in the opposite direction of the airflow. If you have pets, children or allergy sufferers in your home or business, replace filters more frequently to maintain higher indoor air quality and reduce energy costs.