As a homeowner, ensuring your central heating and air conditioning system runs smoothly is essential to avoid frequent problems. One crucial task in HVAC system maintenance is changing your furnace filter regularly. While it may seem straightforward, some homeowners find it challenging. In this guide, ALCO HVAC Plumbing & Gas will explain the basics of furnace filters and how to change them, ensuring your home’s heating and cooling system remains in top-notch condition. If you encounter any difficulties, don’t hesitate to reach out to our professional team. We are always here to assist you, prioritizing the safety and efficiency of your furnace. Contact ALCO HVAC Plumbing & Gas today!
What Are Furnace (Air) Filters?
Furnace filters play a crucial role in any central heating and cooling system, effectively removing contaminants such as dust and pollen from the air passing through the system.
Why Change Your Air Filters?
Prolong The Life of Your HVAC System
Your furnace filter is a critical component that protects your HVAC system by trapping dust and particles that could cause damage. Over time, the filter can become clogged, reducing the system’s efficiency and leading to potential overheating and breakdowns. Replacing your air filter regularly will extend the life of your furnace, preventing costly repairs.
Maintain Healthy Air Quality
Maintaining healthy indoor air quality is another significant reason to change your air filter. Furnace filters trap pollutants like dust, pet dander, and pollen, resulting in improved air quality in your home. This is particularly crucial for households with children or individuals with allergies or respiratory issues like asthma.
Lower Energy Costs
Clogged air filters force your HVAC system to work harder to circulate air, leading to higher energy bills. Regularly changing your furnace filter helps keep your system running efficiently, potentially saving you up to 15% on your energy bill.
How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter?
The frequency of changing your furnace filter depends on factors such as the number of pets in your home, your home’s size, the number of occupants, and the presence of allergies in your family. Generally, it is recommended to change your air filter every three months. However, if you have pets or live in a dusty area, more frequent changes may be necessary. Individuals with allergies or respiratory problems might also require more frequent filter replacements.
What Kind of HVAC Equipment Requires Air Filter Change?
Regular filter changes are required for HVAC systems that use hot and cool air to regulate temperature. These systems fall into two categories: Forced Air Systems or Duct Systems, and Ductless Systems. The former utilizes ductwork and vents to deliver conditioned air throughout the house, commonly using a furnace. The latter, ductless systems, do not use ductwork and have separate indoor and outdoor units.
How to Change HVAC Filters
Forced Air Duct Systems
Knowing the importance of furnace filters and how frequently to change them, let’s learn how to replace the filter. In forced air duct systems, you’ll typically find the air filter inside the HVAC system or the air duct system, depending on the airflow configuration.
1. Locate the Air Filter
The filter may be placed in one of three places:
– In the return air grill, which covers the opening where air enters the HVAC unit. You’ll need to remove screws or hinges to access the filter.
– At the return duct, the large metal duct carries air back to the furnace.
– Inside the air handler or furnace, accessible by removing the access panel.
2. Determine the Size of Your HVAC Air Filter
To ensure the filter fits properly, measure your return air duct’s depth, height, and width. Round up to the nearest whole number to determine the nominal size, which you’ll use to order a new filter.
3. Where to Buy Furnace Air Filters
Common filter sizes are available in most hardware or big box stores. For less common sizes, consider visiting a filter specialty store or opting for an air filter subscription.
4. Determine the MERV Rating
The MERV rating indicates the filter’s efficiency in removing particles from the air. Higher MERV ratings indicate better filtration, but it’s essential to balance efficiency with airflow and stress on your HVAC unit.
5. How to Change a Furnace Filter
Follow these steps to change your furnace filter:
– Turn off your furnace to ensure safety during the replacement.
– Locate and remove the old furnace filter.
– If the filter is washable, clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and let it dry completely. If disposable, dispose of it safely in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
– Install the new or washed filter with the arrow pointing in the direction of the blower.
– Seal the edges of the filter to ensure a snug fit, avoiding the use of duct tape.
– Turn on your furnace and check for unrestricted airflow.
Do You Need Help Replacing Your Furnace Filter?
If you’re unsure about the right furnace filter for your home, reach out to ALCO HVAC at 540-642-1717. Our experts can help you find the perfect filter to meet your needs and budget. We also offer air filter subscriptions, delivering top-quality filters to your doorstep, ensuring your furnace always operates at peak efficiency. Trust ALCO HVAC Plumbing & Gas for reliable and professional assistance with all your HVAC needs.