How to Replace Furnace Filters

How to Replace Furnace Filters

Replacing the filter can help clear the air in your home – and it’s as easy as 1-2-3

If you are a first-time owner of a home with a forced air furnace, you might not realize there is a filter in there that needs changing or cleaned. Even if you do, you may not know it needs to be replaced every 30-60 days to keep your furnace running at peak efficiency – and to help prevent pollutants from entering your living space.

Fortunately, replacing a furnace filter is a pretty simple task once you know what you’re doing, however, there are ways to botch the job (i.e. by buying the wrong size furnace filter or putting it in backwards which could blow the flow of air instead of cleaning. Here’s how to do the job properly in three simple steps.

Step 1: What Kind of Filter Do You Have?

What kind of filter do you have? Start by turning off the furnace. Remove the existing furnace filter, which will be located inside the furnace, at the side of the furnace, or inside the return air grille. Look for an arrow on the filter indicating airflow direction. Using a permanent marker, draw the airflow direction on the outside of the furnace, so you’ll always know the right way to install the filter. Then note the furnace filter size, which will be printed on the cardboard frame.

Time out! A filter that has a plastic frame is a reusable model. That means you have to clean it only periodically with a vacuum and water, ideally outdoors. Let it dry completely before reinserting.

Step 2: Get the Right Replacement

Furnace filters are sold at home centers, hardware stores and online. Disposable ones are typically 1 or 2 inches thick. There are thicker furnace filters, some up to 5 inches (and they often provide superior air cleaning) but if your furnace isn’t already equipped to handle a thicker filter, it will need to be modified by an HVAC professional.

Step 3: Installing Furnace Filters

Install the new filter. Look for the markings that tell you which side of the filter should face the furnace (airflow arrow points into furnace). Then slide the filter back into place and replace any cover that goes over it. Keep a record of the date so that you will know when it is time to change the furnace filter again. Some furnaces require removal of the lower cabinet panel in order to access the filter. Pay careful attention to how it is removed so that it is replaced properly and securely.

Be sure and contact McIntire HVAC & Electric for any questions.

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