How Does a Self-Cleaning Air Conditioner Filter Work?

Self-cleaning air conditioner filters work on a timer, which triggers the cleaning mechanism. Known as the Daikin Self Cleaning Roundflow Cassette air conditioning system, this is a Japanese invention that uses cassettes rather than traditional filters. These Daikin units are wall-mounted and require a special thermostat.

The self-cleaning system operates once daily. The rotating cassette moves past a brush that removes particles from the filter and blows them to a storage chamber. An inside fan provides the airflow. Roughly every six months, the chamber needs emptied. By hooking up a vacuum cleaner to a dedicated pipe extension, the dust is pulled out of the unit.

Tests by Daikin show this self-cleaning system reduces energy use by roughly 30 percent in average, everyday use. The study, done in a Midwest bidding office with extended hours, showed an even greater savings.

Self-cleaning cassettes also eliminate the accumulation of dirt on ceiling tiles sometimes found with traditional systems. They help improve directional airflow and improve air-conditioner efficiency. A dirty air filter can decrease a unit's efficiency by up to 65 percent.

These eco-friendly units were first available in the European market, but as of 2014, began appearing in North America. Most are found in offices and other business environments.