It is almost fall, and winter will be upon us in no time. Along with the return of these seasons comes the return of cold weather and the need to heat our homes. Spending a few minutes now checking and replacing your furnace filter can reap multiple benefits come the winter months.
A dirty filter on your furnace can lead to poorer indoor air quality and decreased efficiency during heating operations. Replacing the filter is an easy job, and should take no time at all to do. At most, you may need a screwdriver to help pry off the access panel. Other than that, no tools will likely be required. Follow the steps below to check and clean or replace your filter:
Turn off power to the furnace. For extra safety, you should always turn off the power to whatever appliance you are working on. Your best bet is to do this at the circuit box. Locate the filter. For most furnaces this will likely be behind an access panel on the furnace itself. Some installers may have installed the filter in a cut-out near the return air. If the area around your filter is dirty, a quick cleaning will help you avoid putting dirt back into the furnace system. Remove the access panel and slide the filter out. The panel will usually pop out or slide off in one direction. If it has not been removed in a while, it may be stuck. Check the filter by holding it up to the light. If you can easily see through it, then you probably do not need to change the filter. If it looks dirty, or you cannot see through it at all, it is time to either clean or replace the filter. If you have a reusable plastic or wire frame filter, you can clean it according to the manufacturer’s directions. This is usually done by rinsing the filter with water, a hose in the backyard or driveway works best, then completely drying it. Once complete, reinstall the filter and the access panel. If you have a fiberglass mesh filter (usually in a cardboard frame), it is not reusable. Take note of the filter size printed on the cardboard and purchase a replacement at a local hardware or discount store. Filters can often be bought in money-saving multipacks. Slide the new filter back in and replace the access panel. Finally, restore power to the furnace and enjoy another season of warming power. To ensure best performance, you should check your filter every year as summer turns to fall and once a month during the heating season. Now you know that this is something that you can easily do for yourself.
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