How often do I need to change my furnace filter?

How often should you change that furnace filter and is it really that important? Cleaning or changing your furnace filters is incredibly important to maintaining your furnace and making sure you are receiving maximum operating efficiency from the unit.  Your furnace filter should be checked monthly and often changed monthly depending on the type of filter you use.  If it appears dark and cloudy, it's time to change or clean it.  Many costly repairs can be avoided by simply keeping the filter clean.  A dirty filter can restrict airflow through the furnace and cause it to overheat and shut down.Here are the steps to follow to change your furnace filter:
  • Turn off the furnace at the main breaker.
  • The furnace filter is usually found next to the blower compartment of the furnace.  You may have to remove the door to your furnace for access.
  • Remove the filter and wash or replace it. If replacing the filter, install it correctly with the arrow on the filter edge pointing toward the blower motor. If it is a washable filter, be sure it dries before placing it back in the unit.
  • Double check you have secured the door to the furnace properly if you removed it.  Many furnaces have a safety switch that prevents the furnace from operating if the door is not securely closed.

There are options for homeowners with regard to furnace filters. The standard, inexpensive glass fiber furnace filters are primarily designed to protect the blower motor and evaporator coil from dirt and should be changed regularly.  if you are wanting to also filter the air in your home to remove airborne dust, allergens and odors, there are a variety of options available to you.  You can purchase furnace filters that remove more particles and last longer than the disposable variety. Space constraints may limit a homeowner on their options, but in some cases an HVAC contractor can make modifications to the duct work to allow for better filtering systems.

 The MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Rating Value - the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers measurement scale) of a furnace filter determines its ability to remove particulates from the air.  The higher the MERV rating, the more particulates removed by the filter. If your home suffers from poor indoor air quality that affects your health and comfort, you may want to visit with us about how Balance Point Heating & Cooling can provide a solution.
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