Replacing Furnace Filters

by Darwin Hall

fiberglass furnace filter

Changing a furnace air filter is a job that is easy and inexpensive to do yourself.

The purpose of a filter on a forced-air furnace is to keep dust, soot, and other air-borne grime out of the air that blows into your living area.

Because air has more trouble passing through a dirt-laden filter, your furnace has to work harder when the filter gets dirty.

Change the filter at least a couple of times during the primary heating season, and as often as every month if you live in a dusty area or if your furnace has to work long hours.

If your central air-conditioning unit also circulates through your furnace filter, you may have to replace the filter during the cooling season as well.

The expense of a new filter — from a few dollars to about 20 dollars, depending on the size — will quickly be re-compensated by lower energy bills.  And it will save strain on your furnace in the long run, too.

It isn’t hard to change a furnace filter.

If, after reading the following instructions, you still have questions about how to do it, ask your furnace service person to demonstrate the process during the next routine visit, so that you can do the task with confidence.

Step 1

First, turn off the thermostat.  Simply toggle the switch to the “off” position.  You’d want to do this because if it should kick in while you’re replacing the filter, the vacuum created by the blower motor could possibly pull the filter into the chamber.

Step 2

Locate the metal panel that covers the filter on the furnace, near the blower.  It is usually at the bottom of the unit.  Trace the return air exchange duct and you won’t miss it.

Step 3

Watch the VideoRemove the panel (if it has one) holding the filter and slide the filter out.  Inspect the filter and replace if it is dirty with dust.

Step 4

Slide the new filter in according to the air-flow directions marked on it.  Be sure to cut the thermostat back on.  It’s just that simple.


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