Replacing your AC filter is one of the best things that you can do for your HVAC system. By spending $5 and five minutes, you’ll enjoy enhanced indoor air quality, smaller cooling bills and fewer service calls. For best results, check it every month, especially during the height of Tucson’s long cooling season. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Locating the Return Duct

Typically, the return duct is located on the ceiling in the main room or on an interior wall just above the baseboard. The louvered grille and filtration panel let air enter your HVAC system while blocking troublesome contaminants. If you have a split system, the rack might be on top of the indoor air handler or where the return duct meets your furnace.

2. Opening the Access Panel

Next, you’ll need to open the access panel. In most cases, you just release the locking tabs. Depending on the type of system, you may have to remove the service door on your air handler. To do this, pull the cover upward and toward you simultaneously. Most models have a handle to make it easier. With furnaces, filtration panels generally slide into a slot on the side of the unit next to the ductwork.

3. Inspecting and Replacing Your AC Filter

According to the Department of Energy, restricted airflow increases your cooling bills by 15 percent. For optimal performance, replace disposable filtration panels every one to three months or once you see visible dust deposits. Mark the installation date on the edge of the frame, and make sure that the airflow arrows point toward your return duct or air handler.

If you aren’t sure how to perform the task or if you aren’t happy with your indoor air quality, call Oasis Air Conditioning & Heating in Green Valley at 520-201-3577. We can help you with replacements or recommend a whole-house air purifier.