Have you had “check the furnace filter” on your to-do-list for weeks or even months? While it can be a bothersome chore, it is one that will be worth your time in the long run.
Changing the air filter in your furnace is ordinarily a simple and inexpensive task that is crucial to protecting the performance of your HVAC system between regular tune-up appointments. Most importantly, it is a significant contributor to the overall air quality in your home. A clogged air filter could generate a variety of airflow and comfort issues including increased energy consumption (higher heating bills), substandard heating throughout your home, unhealthy air quality in your living spaces and even the overall failure of your heating system. A clean filter will keep dust and dirt from building up in the system preventing expensive maintenance and/or untimely component or system failure.
The question of how often you should switch out your air filter depends on a variety of factors. The type of filter your system requires, the number of people living in your home, the presence of indoor pets and whether there is construction or other external influencers near your home affecting your indoor air quality should be taken into consideration.
As a general rule, Service Experts’ NATE-certified service technicians recommend checking your filter monthly, especially during the winter season. If the filter appears dirty, you should replace it. Additionally, if you have pets in your home, think about switching out your filter more often as a result of pet dander. And if you have someone in the home that suffers from allergies or asthma, replacing your air filter regularly will help to ease those symptoms. At a minimum, you should change the filter every three months.
Changing out your air filter is a somewhat simple job that many homeowners choose to handle on their own. In many cases, the difficulty comes in realizing the importance of the task and making it a priority.
Here are general guidelines to use when you discover a dirty air filter that needs to be replaced:
Determine what size air filter is the right fit for your unit and purchase the filter (available at home stores, hardware stores and local HVAC contractors).
Turn your system off by turning off the breaker or power to the system.
Open or remove the air filter panel close to the bottom of your unit to reveal an open compartment.
On the top of that open compartment is where you’ll see your filter resting on two metal supports.
There will be a small amount of space to move your filter back and forth that allows you to remove one end of the filter and take it out of the compartment.
When installing the new filter, check the perimeter of the filter for an arrow that indicates the air flow direction to make sure you’re installing the filter in the proper direction. In most cases, the arrow should point towards the main part (or top) of the furnace.