How to Change Your HVAC Filter in 6 Easy Steps

How to Change Your HVAC Filter in 6 Easy StepsEvery HVAC heating and cooling system includes an air filter. Its purpose is to remove airborne contaminants that despoil the quality of the air you breathe every day.

Over time, HVAC air filters become dirty and must be replaced. Fortunately, this is not a complicated job. It does not require help from a trained technician. You can change your HVAC air filter all on your own, with no anxiety and a minimum of fuss.

Why Change Your Filter?

As you continue to use your furnace and air conditioner, your air filter will become progressively dirtier and progressively less effective.  If you leave air filters in place indefinitely, as many people do, you’ll no longer enjoy the important benefits they can deliver.

Conversely, if you change your HVAC air filters on schedule, you will:

  • Extend the lifespan of your HVAC system.
    Dirty air filters are a common reason why furnaces and air conditioners suffer mechanical breakdowns. Clogged air filters restrict air flow into the heating and cooling system, forcing your HVAC equipment to work harder to pull in air and putting it at severe risk of overheating.
  • Reduce energy costs.
    Furnaces and air conditioners hamstrung by clogged filters will burn more fuel or electricity as the struggle and strain to do their jobs. The performance capabilities of your HVAC equipment may gradually decline as a result of this constant strain, causing an even greater loss of efficiency. This could be a spiral downward into ever-escalating energy bills. But if you keep your HVAC air filters fresh and clean by changing them often, you can cut your annual energy consumption by 5-15 percent.
  • Protect your family’s health.
    When you inhale particles of dust, dirt, pet dander, noxious fumes from bathrooms or garages, pollen, mold spores, decaying bits of newspapers, books or magazines, or chemical traces from cleaning products, the results can be quite unpleasant. You may suffer asthma or allergy attacks, skin rashes, serious irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, clogged sinuses and generalized respiratory distress that could eventually develop into something chronic.

Air filters help to dramatically reduce the quantities of indoor air pollution you breathe. If you purchase one of superior quality, it can protect you from most of the health hazards associated with bad indoor air quality.

How to Change Your HVAC Air Filter

Changing your HVAC air filter is a piece of cake, once you know what you’re doing. Here’s how to do it in six easy steps …

#1 Turn off your furnace or air conditioner

You can do this by setting the thermostat to “off.” When changing an air filter, it isn’t necessary to cut all power to your HVAC system.

#2 Locate your air filter’s location

Your furnace owner’s manual will tell you where to find the filter (assuming you still have it). If you’ve lost the manual, you’ll find your HVAC air filter located close to the air handler. The filter may be located beneath the cover of the furnace, which you can remove by lifting it up. Alternatively, you might find the filter inserted in a special opening in the duct work leading into the blower.

#3 Check the size of your HVAC filter

If you pull the filter out partway you should see its dimensions printed on the frame. If you don’t see anything, you may have to pull the filter out all the way and measure it yourself.

You’ll need to write down the dimension by length, width and depth. You’ll have to take those numbers with you when you visit your hardware or HVAC supply store.

#4 Remove the old filter completely

If you haven’t already done so, slide the used filter out all the way and set it aside. It will likely be coated in dust and debris, which will confirm that it was time to make a change.

#5 Install your new HVAC air filter

Installing an HVAC filter is easy. The one caution is to make sure the directional arrow printed on the filter frame is pointed toward the blower when you insert it. This will guarantee your HVAC air filter works as designed.

When you purchase a new filter, you should pay attention to type and MERV rating. Pleated filters cost more than fiberglass filters, but they are much better in quality and usually worth the investment. Meanwhile, MERV stands for ‘minimum efficiency reporting value,’ and it provides an accurate measurement of a filter’s capacity to capture and remove pollutants. For residential use, you should select a filter with a MERV rating between 8 and 12.

#6 Turn the furnace or air conditioner back on

With your new, clean filter in place, your HVAC system should be all set to go. You may not notice the difference right way, but your lungs and nasal passages most certainly will.

When to Change Your HVAC Filter

Good-quality pleated filters can last for up to three months. But you should check them every month just to be sure.

If there is a thick and noticeable layer of dust and dirt present, change the filter immediately. Should you choose to go with cheaper fiberglass options, they should definitely be changed on a monthly basis.

ABE Heating and Cooling Knows Air Filters

If you have questions about filter types, MERV ratings, air filter replacement procedures or anything else related to the health of your HVAC system, please contact ABE Heating and Cooling today. We are located in Brighton, Colorado and serve the entire Denver Metro Area, and we’re ready to help you take important steps to guarantee your home’s indoor air quality.