How to Replace Your Furnace Filter

Time: 15 minutes

The middle of winter is the time you need your furnace most, so make sure you take care of yours. A dirty filter is one of the most common reasons a forced-air furnace breaks down over time. Fortunately, changing your filter regularly is an easy and inexpensive way to maximize the energy efficiency of your heating system. Here's how to inspect and replace your filter to make sure you do the job right.

What's in it for you?

  • Improved furnace efficiency
  • Lower energy bills
  • Increased lifespan for your furnace

How to Replace Your Furnace Filter:

  1. Locate your filter. Turn off the furnace and take a look at the control panel. If your filter location isn't clearly labeled, open your furnace and look inside for it. If it's not in the furnace itself, it's likely in the air return vent nearby.
  2. Check for airflow direction. Before removing the filter, look for an arrow on the filter that shows the airflow direction. Once you find it, use a Sharpie to make that direction directly on your furnace for future reference. If you don't see an arrow right away, carefully remove the filter, making sure to note the direction it was facing originally. Then you can check for an arrow and proceed to mark the furnace accordingly.
  3. Check the filter model. First, look to see if your filter has a plastic frame. If it does, you should clean it with a vacuum cleaner and reuse it. If not, look for the name and model number so you get the right replacement at a hardware store or online.
  4. Replace the filter. Once you have the new filter in hand, unwrap it and check the air flow arrows. Compare these to your markings to make sure you install it correctly. Place where you found the original filter and close up any panel covered or access hatches. You can now turn your furnace back on.
  5. Note the date. Check the new filter package for a recommendation about how often to replace the filter. Use this information to put a reminder on your calendar for the next filter change.
    Pro Tip: If you're having trouble figuring out where to how to change your filter, call a pro for a furnace inspection and tune-up (an important annual maintenance task). If you’re a Super subscriber, give us a call to schedule an appointment with a service professional.
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