How to clean a return air grille and filter information.

Clean your Return Air Grille plus Filter for Optimum Performance & Efficiency

Cleaning your air conditioning. Maintain the performance and efficiency of your ducted reverse cycle system when you keep your return air grille and filter clean.

Here is a great tip to keep your ducted reverse cycle air conditioner operating effectively which only takes a short time to carry out. Keep your return air grille and filter nice and clean, and replace it whenever necessary. This is important preventative maintenance you can do that can increase the service life of your AC, and help it with delivering more comfort while also running efficiently.

The return air is a vital component of any reverse cycle system, and the grille and filter is there to keep it protected from dust, dirt, pet hair and any other debris you don’t want getting into it.

You’ll often be able to tell that it needs a clean by looking at it from below. You’ll normally find the return air in a central part of the house.

To Clean your AC Return Air

Unscrew the thumbscrews on the grille

If yours is a hinged system gently swing it open. If on the other hand yours is fully removable, you may need to remove more thumbscrews to take it down from the ceiling.

Remove the air filter from the grille just by sliding it out.

Rinse it off

Take the filter outside, and using gentle water pressure from a garden hose, rinse the filter. Work your way back and forth until the water running off it is nice and clear. You’ll be able to see the filter is clean visually.

Leave the filter to dry

If your filter has a metal frame, it is ok to leave it in the sun to dry. If it has a plastic frame though, do not leave it in the sun as it could warp. Leave it in the shade, a warm shed, garage or laundry and it will be dry soon enough.

Clean the Grille

While waiting for the filter to dry we need to clean the grille component. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean off any dirt, spider webs, fluff or whatever else from it. You may want to finish the job with a feather duster.


It is important to check the return air box and where the flexible duct connects to it. Make sure there is no dirt or damage to it. If there is, contact your installer for help.

From time to time, your filter media may need replacing, especially if it becomes damaged. Contact Polyaire if you need a replacement.

Finishing Up

To finish up, slide the return air filter back into the grille, and secure it into place on the ceiling by tightening the thumbscrews.

That’s it, all done.

This is a quick and easy process you can carry out. We recommend doing this at least once a year depending on how often you use your system, or whenever the grille and filter start to look dirty.

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