Well, folks, it's that time of year again... Bonfires, pumpkin spice lattes, colder temperatures, and -- you guessed it! -- a trip to your local home improvement store to stock up on new furnace filters for the upcoming Winter season. Although it's important to change your filter regularly (generally monthly) throughout the entire year, it's especially vital once we get into colder months when your furnace will be running around the clock.
You might wonder why it's so important to keep tabs on the age and condition of your furnace filter. In other words, what are the benefits of changing it out for a new one every month or two? Well, for starters, it will go a long way towards improving the indoor air quality in your home. The filter works to catch all unwanted dust and debris coming from your HVAC system as it runs, so a cleaner filter will more effectively and efficiently perform this task. Another important benefit of a clean furnace filter is that it improves the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. A dirty filter that is clogged with lots of debris prohibits efficient airflow. A furnace has to work much harder to push air through a dirty filter than it does through a clean one. This increased efficiency translates into lower heating costs for you and your family. Additionally, it actually helps to extend the life of your furnace, because it puts less strain on your HVAC system and and all of its parts.
Now that you know why you should change your furnace's filter regularly, let's get down to the nuts and bolts of how to complete this task! It's typically a good idea to change your filter every month or every other month, but you can take a quick look at it before changing to see how dirty and discolored it is. If it has been a month or two but still looks relatively clean and white, you can probably wait a while longer before changing it out for a new one. A few variables, such as the number of people and pets living in your house, the location of your home (and presence of outdoor air pollution in your area), and the number of allergy sufferers in the home will also help determine how often you need to change the filter.
The first step of this home maintenance task is to purchase the correct size and type of filter from your local home improvement store. If you're unsure of what kind of filter your furnace requires, you can look in your HVAC system or furnace manual for more information. Once you have your new filter in hand, you'll want to turn off your furnace and locate the service panel. After finding the service panel, you'll simply remove its cover, slide out the old filter (near the blower fan), and replace it with the new filter. Then, you can simply replace the service panel and turn your furnace back on. Voila -- you're now ready to check this important home maintenance task off of your checklist for the month! We highly recommend putting a reminder on your calendar or in your phone every month so that you're sure to keep your furnace running efficiently for years to come.