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

The Reason Behind Changing Your Furnace Filter

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

When to Change Your Furnace Filter

Wondering when to change a 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 changing it frequently, depending on the type of filter you use. To determine if your filter is dirty enough to replace, remove the filter and hold it up to a nearby light. If you can no longer clearly see light, you should change your furnace filter.

How to Change Your Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter is quick, easy, and may save you money 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 to place the furnace filter correctly 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 or home improvement store. (Some furnaces can handle up to 5-inch filters. Check yours to make sure.)
  5. To install your new filter, slide the filter back into place. (Make sure it’s facing the right direction.) Note when you changed it, so you know when to check it again.

If you’re unsure about replacing your filter yourself, give us a call! One of our professionals will give your furnace a thorough inspection, and make sure everything is running properly. If you have a filter, they will replace it for you. Book an appointment today!


If you have questions about furnace filters (and when to replace them), you can find the top answers here.

Why should I change my filter regularly?

Changing a filter at least once a season ensures that your system has clear airflow and the ability to extract contaminants from the air. Clean filters can trap dust, particles, and allergens while maintaining a high level of efficiency for the unit.

How do I choose the right furnace filter?

Filters come in various sizes and materials, including fiberglass, pleated, HEPA, synthetic, and electrostatic. Higher MERV ratings for each type indicate a higher level of filtration. Choose the MERV rating for your household needs and confirm that you get the right size for your HVAC unit.

How can I tell that I need to change the filter?

You may notice that your filter needs changing before you look at the filter. If your home seems particularly dusty or you observe a drop in your heating and cooling system performance or efficiency, you may need to change the filter.

Can changing the filter improve my HVAC lifespan?

Changing your filter every few months (or more frequently) can improve the lifespan of your HVAC unit by preventing dirt buildup. Dirty filters force the system to work harder, and they cannot keep the system components clean. Regular filter replacement may help prevent these problems, maintaining high performance for your system.

Does my HVAC system require special filters?

The right filter for your HVAC unit depends on the type of furnace, the overall configuration, your household needs, and more. You may need to choose a different filter for a gas furnace than you would for an electric furnace. Our technicians can make recommendations for your furnace and home filtration needs.

What happens if I don’t change my furnace filter?

If you don’t change your furnace filter every few months, you may lose efficiency and performance from the unit over time. As the filter gets increasingly dirty, you run the risk of system overheating, inefficiency, low air quality, and other problems.

Should I check other things on my furnace, besides my filter?

If you suspect issues with your heating system, you can do more to troubleshoot than simply to change the furnace filter. Confirm that the power supply and gas supply have a tight connection. Test the thermostat settings. Check that the vents open fully and inspect the ductwork for gaps or signs of damage. For any other issues, you may need to call our technicians for assistance.

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.

Wondering how often you should change your HVAC filter? At Conway Services, we have the solution. We appreciate your need for an effective furnace during the cool Tennessee winters. You can count on our technicians to provide excellent furnace repair and installation. You don’t have to worry about the function of your heating system — we can help you troubleshoot existing problems or find the best new system for your home.

The experts at Conway Services take pride in our ability to address your concerns promptly and courteously. We can show you how often to change a furnace filter, as well as other ways to improve your system performance and efficiency. Our years of experience give us the best perspective to solve your problems correctly the first time. Contact us today!