Changing your furnace filter is one HVAC maintenance task homeowners can do themselves. Everything else should be left to a licensed professional.
This is your simple how-to guide that makes filter changing safe and easy. However, if you’re still a little uncertain, ask your HVAC technician for help during your next inspection. A reputable pro will be happy to show you how to do it. In some cases, HVAC systems need a filter change as often as once per month. It depends on your home, how many people live there and how much dust accumulates.
New filters are easy to find online or at your local hardware store. Check yours to make sure you get the right size — the dimensions should be printed on the edge. Or to be extra sure, just bring the whole thing with you. Alternatively, you can find the information on the furnace itself.
You don’t need the most expensive filter, in most cases. When they’re changed regularly, you can go for a moderately priced filter from an established company. Higher-quality air filters will do a better job of collecting dust, dander, pollen and even spores. It also may be a good idea to buy in bulk. Air filters don’t go bad, and you’ll be more likely to change them regularly if you have a small stock on hand.
A Change Will Do You Good
Ready to change the filter? First, find the air handler. It’s an access panel that’s often right beside your furnace. Again, your HVAC technician can show you where this is, too. The filter will be pretty easy to spot inside the air handler. It’ll likely be coated in dirt and dust (you don’t need to be a professional to see that it needs swapping).
Make sure you note which direction the airflow is headed (there’s an arrow) so you install the new air filter in the right direction.
After you put the new filter in, check again to make sure the arrow is pointing in the right direction. Close the access door, if you have one, and you’re finished! It’s a lot like the lint screen on your dryer, but instead of cleaning it off, you just pop in a new one.
During the winter months, and especially the holiday season, it’s common to have more dirt buildup than normal. You’re staying indoors more often, you’re pulling out decorations that may be coated in dust, and you’re having more company — all this brings more dirt into the home.
What’s the Big Deal?
Many homeowners think it’s no big deal if they don’t change their filter for months at a time. On average, it’s best to replace every three months (again, every home is different). Will your HVAC break if you don’t replace it? No — at least not for a long time. However, your furnace filter regulates the air quality in your home and can extend the life of your furnace. To ensure your furnace is functioning at top level, contact Complete Heating & Air Conditioning and schedule an inspection.