HVAC Hacks: Tips for Novices and New Homeowners

How To Change A Furnace Air Filter

Your furnace's air filter works to keep out dust and other debris from your heating system. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can place greater strain on your furnace, which can lead to malfunctions or damage that can result in costly repairs. Properly maintaining your furnace's air filter is an important part of general home maintenance, and thankfully is a fairly quick and painless process that only needs to be done every three months or so.

Types of Air Filters

There are two broad categories of air filters: disposable and reusable. Both of these categories are exactly what they sound like, but which one you have will depend on the make and model of your furnace.

If you have a disposable air filter, you'll have to either check the owner's manual, look at the old filter, or measure the old filter in order to find out the right dimensions. If your owner's manual recommends a certain brand, be sure to use it, as it may have specifications that provide your furnace with better efficiency and performance.

Changing a Disposable Air Filter

Replacing a disposable air filter is a fairly simple process. Once you have purchased the replacement filter, turn the furnace off by cutting off its power at the fuse box, or the furnace cut-off switch if you have one. Then, locate the air filter housing, usually in one of the furnace's connection to your home's duct work. Note the arrow on the housing that shows the airflow; it should point towards the furnace. Remove the old filter, and then simply slide in the new filter and close the housing.

Changing a Replaceable Air Filter

Again, turn off the furnace at the fuse box or the cut-off switch. Then, locate the air filter housing, which should be in the same location. Remove the filter from the furnace, taking care not to dump the collected dust on the ground. Use a vacuum cleaner or a broom to remove as much dust from the filter as possible, taking care not to be too rough, as this can poke holes in the filter and ruin its effectiveness. Then, take the filter outside and rinse it from both sides with a hose to remove any remaining dust. Allow the filter to air dry before you put it back into its housing, noting the arrows on the side of the filter that indicates which way it should be facing.

If you are having trouble changing your filter, or you're having trouble keeping your furnace clean in spite of changing the filter regularly, it's best to contact an HVAC specialist, such as Clearzone Services, to get to the root of the problem.