Replacing Your Furnace Air Filter

If you regularly use a furnace in your home, or are planning to do so all winter, then replacing the furnace air filter must and should be made a part of your home maintenance. Contrary to most people’s fears, replacing furnace filters is a very easy task. More often, it’s just our lethargy that stops us from pursuing it, as opposed to difficulty. Furthermore, if you invest in reusable furnace filters instead of the disposable kind, your job will be easier as they don’t need to be replaced nearly as often.

Most of the furnace manufacturers recommend that a furnace filter be replaced monthly. The benefits of replacing your filter are increased efficiency of your furnace which equals lower utility bills and less wear and tear on your furnace. If you are unsure how often your filter needs to be changed, check your furnace operating manual. Once you have determined the frequency at which you need to replace the furnace air filter, educate yourself about the steps that need to be taken. Here is a broad outline of the process that you need to follow:

  1. Power-off the furnace by turning off the electrical switch, before you replace the furnace filter. If you have a gas furnace, turn off the gas.
  2. Locate the blower door and open it. Depending upon the model of the furnace, you may have to lift it up and then out, swing it open or just slide it out. Check the manual in case of difficulty. Some models have the door at the top of the blower.
  3. Locate the furnace air filter and slide it out of its slot. Make sure you remember how the filter went in so you won’t have difficulty putting it back in the same way.
  4. If the filter is coated with a thick layer of dirt, or you are unable to see through it, it is most likely not reusable. This is a sign to replace the filter.
  5. Before you replace the furnace air filter, also make sure that you look for dust around the blower area. Dirt could clog up the furnace causing it not to work properly. You can sweep out this dust or vacuum it and then replace the furnace air filter.
  6. You most probably have a fiberglass disposable filter that needs replacement. Look for the size and model number of the furnace air filter. Then, throw out the old filter and purchase a new one. Furnace filters are available at local hardware or home improvement stores.
  7. Make sure to replace the new filter the same way you did the old one. This is important because furnace air filters are designed in a way that filters air only from one side, while the other side collects the dust. Usually, fiberglass furnace air filters have an oily side, meant to be facing the blower. If that’s difficult to determine, look for arrows on the air filter. These would indicate which way it needs to be installed.
  8. Lastly, close the door of the blower and latch it on firmly. Your new furnace air filter is installed and ready to be used.
  9. If you are looking for a quality brand go with Honeywell furnace filters. They may cost a little more at the outset but they will last longer and save you money in the long run.