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Why, When, and How to Change Your Furnace Filter

Furnaces keep our homes warm, and furnace filters keep our furnaces clean and working properly. Learn why, when, and how to change your furnace filter in this short post. For more information, be sure to contact a heating technician in your area.

The Reason Behind Changing Your Furnace Filter

Furnace filters are designed to protect a furnace's blower motor from excess dirt and dust. When a filter is too dirty, air in unable to move properly through your heating system. Lack of airflow caused by a dirty filter can cause your furnace to overheat and shut down. (The same thing happens with air conditioners: a dirty filter will cause coils to freeze up and will shut an AC down.) When a heating system overheats, it may suffer other damages that will require an HVAC professional to repair. Avoid these damages by changing your furnace filter regularly.

When to Change Your Furnace Filter

Many homeowners think that changing their furnace filters once a year will suffice. However, changing your furnace filter only once a year will likely shorten the life of your furnace. To prevent costly repairs, get into the habit of checking your filter monthly and often change it monthly, depending on the type of filter you use. To determine if your filter is dirty enough to be changed, remove the filter and hold it up to a nearby light. If you can no longer clearly see light, it's time to change your furnace filter.

How to Change Your Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter is quick, easy, and will save hundreds to thousands of dollars if done regularly. Here's a quick step-by-step guide.

1. Turn off your furnace.

2. Remove the existing furnace filter. (It's usually found inside the furnace or the return air vent.)

3. Look for an arrow indicating airflow direction through the filter. (This will help you know that your next filter is facing the right way when you install it.)

4. Find the right replacement for your furnace. Disposable filters are typically 1 or 2 inches thick. Find one that fits your furnace at a local hardware store. (There are some furnaces that can handle up to 5-inch filters. Check yours to make sure.)

5. Install your new filter by sliding it back into place. (Make sure it's facing the right direction.) Make note of when you changed it, so you know when to check it again.

Questions? Contact a Heating Professional

For questions about changing furnace filters and other heat-related issues, it's best to contact a heating professional in your area for detailed advice and assistance.

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