Your furnace’s air filter is a crucial component of your HVAC system because it keeps dust, pollen and allergens out of your equipment. Once this filter gets blocked, there is nothing preventing this debris from entering the unit and slowing down all the moving parts within.
Clogged air filters lead to two specific issues that prevent your furnace from working at its best:
- Excessive wear and tear on the unit, leading to premature failure.
- Limited airflow through the system.
When Should You Change Your Furnace Filter?
Most experts suggest checking and changing your furnace air filter monthly during the peak heating season. Fortunately, it’s a DIY job that only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require any specialized tools or training. Follow these straightforward steps to tackle this task like a pro.
Step 1: Locate the Filter
Your furnace’s air filter could be in a couple of standard spots, depending on your unit’s make and model. In some cases, you’ll find it in the return air duct. If your furnace and air conditioner share the same ducts, the common air filter for both systems might be in or near the furnace’s blower. Check your user’s manual for more details, or ask your HVAC service tech to show you where your filter is.
Step 2: Use the Right Replacement Filter
Furnace air filters come in several standard sizes. Make sure to buy the correct one by checking the side of your current filter to find its dimensions. When in doubt, it’s smart to ask your Above & Beyond HVAC technician where to buy the filters you need.
If any member of your household has allergies or other respiratory problems, you might want to buy filters that go beyond merely keeping dust out of your air conditioner. When aiming to improve your indoor air quality, invest in HEPA filters.
Guide to Changing Your Furnace Air Filter
Step 1: Power Down
There are two reasons to take this step. The first is your safety, and the second is to protect your furnace. If you leave the furnace running while you’re working on replacing the air filter, dust and debris can get sucked into the unit. Be sure to switch off power at the circuit breaker, as well as at the unit itself.
Step 2: Remove the Old Filter
Completing this step is usually as simple as opening the access panel and sliding the filter out of the slot or compartment that holds it in place.
Step 3: Inspect Its Condition
Once you’ve taken out the old furnace filter, hold it up to the light – can you see anything coming through? You need to replace or clean a clogged filter, even if the manufacturer claimed it would last three months and you’ve only been using it for one.
Step 4: Replace or Clean the Filter
Is your furnace air filter disposable, or permanent? Usually, a disposable filter has a cardboard frame surrounding an accordion-style paper or fiber mesh. A reusable filter consists of a sturdier material with a metal frame and a unique coating to make it washable. If you’re cleaning a reusable furnace air filter, check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you’re following all the appropriate steps.
Step 5: Insert the Replacement or Cleaned Filter
Now, the only thing left to do is to install the filter correctly. Look for an arrow on the filter’s frame indicating the direction of the airflow, which is always away from the return air duct and toward the air handler. When you put the filter back, make sure the arrow is pointing the right direction.
Тake Your DIY HVAC Maintenance to the Next Level
Now that you know how to inspect and replace your furnace air filter, add a reminder to your calendar to do it every month. As part of this process, don’t overlook your air conditioner if its filters are separate from your furnace.
If you weren’t familiar with the steps involved in changing your furnace air filters, you’ve probably been neglecting other HVAC upkeep, too. A preventive HVAC maintenance agreement can save you money, time and worries by keeping your heating and cooling equipment in tip-top shape all year long. Contact your locally owned experts at Above & Beyond HVAC services for a thorough inspection and tune-up of your system, so you’ll have peace of mind all winter long. We’re here to serve you 24/7.