How to Change the Filter on a Window Air Conditioner

Many people choose to install window air conditioners to help cool rooms.

Window units use filters made of foam or mesh.Window units use filters made of foam or mesh.
Just like a central air conditioning system, window units use filters to remove dust and allergens from the air. The U. S. Department of Energy recommends changing the filter every month during the cooling season. The filter in window air conditioning units is behind the front cover. Changing the filter in a window air conditioner also helps to keep the unit running efficiently.

Find the power switch or dial on your window air conditioner and turn it off. Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet.

Check the front cover of the unit for screws. Some window air conditioners have screws along the outside edge. Remove the screws with a Phillips screwdriver, then pull the front cover away from the unit. Most models have a cover that simply snaps on and off. Grab the cover by the sides, if there are no screws. Pull the front cover straight off the unit.

Grab the foam filter off the face of the air conditioner. Some filters are made from a mesh material. Place the new filter on a flat surface and lay the old filter on top of it. Cut the new filter with a utility knife so that it is the same size as the old filter.

Place the new filter on the front of the air conditioner. Position the front cover over the air conditioner and push it in until it locks into place. Secure the cover with the screws, if your unit uses retaining screws. Plug the power cord back into the electrical outlet. Turn the window air conditioner on.

Things You Will Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Replacement filter
  • Utility knife


  • Foam filters are washable and only need to be replaced if damaged.
  • Replace filters with ones of the same material.

About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.