How to Change Your Furnace Air Filter: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you own a furnace, you need to know how to change its air filter. Changing the air filter on your furnace is an essential part of furnace maintenance. It helps keep the air quality in your home healthy and ensures that your furnace works efficiently. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to change your furnace air filter.

When to Change Furnace Air Filter

Before we dive into the steps of changing your furnace air filter, let’s first discuss when you should change it. Generally, you should change your furnace air filter every three months. However, if you have pets or allergies, you may need to change it more frequently, such as every one or two months. Additionally, if you live in an area with a high level of air pollution, you may also need to change your furnace air filter more often.

Signs that Your Furnace Air Filter Needs Changing

If you’re not sure when to change your furnace air filter, look out for these signs that it needs changing:

  • The furnace is running for longer than usual.
  • There is more dust or debris around your home.
  • You notice reduced airflow from your furnace.
  • You or someone in your home is experiencing allergy symptoms.
  • The furnace emits unusual smells or sounds.

Types of Furnace Air Filters

Before you can change your furnace air filter, you need to know which type to buy. There are various types of furnace air filters available, including:

  • Fiberglass filters: These filters are inexpensive and work best to capture larger particles like dust, lint, and pollen. However, they don’t work well to capture smaller particles like pet dander or smoke.
  • Pleated filters: These filters are made of folded paper or fabric and are more efficient than fiberglass filters. They can capture smaller particles but may also restrict airflow, which can cause your furnace to work harder.
  • High-efficiency filters: These filters capture the smallest particles and are often used in hospitals and laboratories. They work well for those with allergies, but they can also be costly.

When choosing a furnace air filter, consider the size of the filter, the type of material, and the MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The MERV rating measures the filter’s ability to capture particles, with a higher MERV rating indicating better filtration.

Steps to Change Furnace Air Filter

Now that you know when to change your furnace air filter and which type to buy let’s move onto the step-by-step guide on how to change your furnace air filter.

Turn off the furnace

The first step is to turn off the furnace. You can do this by finding the on/off switch on the furnace or by turning off the circuit breaker that powers the furnace.

Locate the furnace air filter

Next, you need to locate the furnace air filter. The location of the filter will depend on your furnace’s make and model, but it is often found in the return air duct, the blower compartment, or the furnace itself.

Remove the old furnace air filter

Once you’ve located the filter, you need to remove the old one. Open the access panel and slide the filter out of its slot. Be careful not to damage the filter or the surrounding components.

Insert the new furnace air filter

After removing the old filter, it’s time to insert the new one. Make sure you insert the filter in the correct orientation, with the arrows on the filter pointing in the direction of the airflow. Slide the filter into place and ensure that it fits securely.

Turn the furnace back on

Once the new filter is in place, you can turn the furnace back on. This will help the furnace recognize the new filter and reset.

The furnace may take a few minutes to restart, so be patient. Once the furnace is running again, check that the filter is installed correctly and securely.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Changing Furnace Air Filter

While changing the furnace air filter is a relatively simple task, there are a few common mistakes that people make. Avoid these mistakes to ensure that your furnace works efficiently and effectively.

Using the wrong size or type of furnace air filter can cause your furnace to work harder than it needs to, reducing its lifespan and increasing your energy bills. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations before buying a filter.

Forgetting to turn off the furnace before changing the air filter can be dangerous, as it can result in injury or damage to the furnace. Always turn off the furnace before attempting to change the air filter.

Not replacing the furnace air filter regularly can cause a buildup of dirt, dust, and other particles that reduce the airflow and efficiency of your furnace. Make sure to change your filter every three months or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have to turn off the furnace to change the filter?

Yes, it’s essential to turn off the furnace before changing the air filter. This will prevent any accidents or injuries while changing the filter.

How often should I change my furnace air filter?

You should change your furnace air filter every three months. However, if you have pets, allergies, or live in an area with high pollution, you may need to change it more often.

Can I clean and reuse my furnace air filter?

It depends on the type of filter you have. Some filters, like fiberglass filters, are not reusable and should be replaced. Pleated filters can sometimes be cleaned with a vacuum or washed, but always check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Ensuring Efficient Furnace Performance: Changing Your Furnace Air Filter

Changing your furnace air filter is an essential part of maintaining your furnace and ensuring that it works efficiently. By following this step-by-step guide, you can change your furnace air filter with confidence. Remember to choose the right type of filter, change it regularly, and avoid common mistakes to keep your furnace running smoothly.

Leave a Comment