One of a furnace's most important—and most overlooked—features is its air filter. Like the rest of your HVAC system, your furnace has this component to strain out dust and debris before the air enters the appliance. Excessive dirt or damage to this part of the system affects your furnace's operation and your home's air quality. For this reason, it's important to know how to change your air filter—and if you can't manage it yourself, you should have an HVAC technician do the job.
Why Change It?
When your filter is clogged, it obstructs airflow and allows debris into the furnace. This can cause a broad range of problems, from simply shutting the furnace off to creating clogs, causing overheating, and even starting fires. Many problems which require furnace repairs started with a neglected filter.
How Often Should the Filter Be Replaced?
There are different types of furnace filters which are designed to last different lengths of time. The type which is spongy and about one-inch thick should be changed every two to three months. A much thicker one, between four and five inches, lasts six months. If the screen has an accordion-like appearance, it will last for a year. If it's made of metal, you don't need to replace it at all, but you do need to clean it periodically.
All these times are based on an average amount of use. If your home is particularly dusty, includes pets, or has other factors affecting the air quality, you'll need to switch filters more often. Check the color regularly—gray or black means it's time for a change. You can also test it by holding it up to see if light shines through it. If no light gets through, it needs to be changed.
How to Switch Out Your Furnace’s Filter
First, find your air filter. It will either be inside the furnace, just above or below it, or in the return air grill. Make sure you have the right type and size of part to replace it. Take out the old, disposable unit and throw it away. Slide the new one into place, making sure it is positioned properly and fits the gap.
If you have a reusable model, clean it instead of throwing it away. Rinse it with clean tap water, then allow it to dry thoroughly before you put it back.
By changing or cleaning your furnace filter, you can extend the life of your heating system, prevent fires and heating breakdowns, and even save money by helping your system circulate air more efficiently. Don't wait—check your filter today, and if you need help, call a technician!
All Temp Co. in Harrisburg, NC, offers installation and maintenance for some of the most valuable home appliances you own. If your air conditioner or furnace is acting up, call them for skilled, reliable repairs. Give them a call today at (704) 266-1403 to schedule an appointment, and visit them online for more information on their services.