How to Replace a Furnace Air Filter

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Saving money is always an idea that never goes out of style. One area that may be overlooked for keeping more in your pocket is replacing the furnace filter a number of times during the winter heating season. In fact, this practice should be done every month. Proper airflow to and from the furnace keeps the unit running at its peak efficiency. All furnaces have a filter and they are placed on the intake side of the air blower. Multi-storied homes have an air intake on every floor, so your home may have more than one furnace filter that needs to be replaced. Replacing the furnace filter is fast and easy and will keep the air in your home cleaner.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Plastic trash bag
  • Proper size furnace filter for your system
  • Locate and identify the intake grill for your home's furnace system. This will be a large metal grill, centrally located in the home. All the air will pass through this intake and be recirculated through the exhaust heat vents in the home.

  • Shut off the furnace at the thermostat. You want the furnace blower to remain off while you are changing the filter.

  • Use the vacuum cleaner to remove any dust that may have formed on the surface of the grill prior to filter removal. Cleaning the grill of all dust and debris will keep this from entering the furnace system.

  • Remove the grill from the wall. The furnace filter is just under the grill in a bracket mount. Note the positioning of the filter so that you can put in the new one correctly.

  • Place the old furnace filter in the trash bag. This will keep the dust that has accumulated on the intake side of the filter from falling around your home.

  • Vacuum the area around the filter mount bracket if is covered in dust. You may also want to clean off the backside of the intake grill.

  • Install the new filter into the mounting bracket. Pay particular attention to the directional arrows on the side of the new filter. Be sure that the filter airflow arrow is pointing towards the "in" side of the bracket.

  • Replace the intake grill and turn the furnace back on at the thermostat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep a record of when you replace the air filter as this should be done every month during the heating season.
  • The furnace filter may not look dirty as the filter captures dust on the inside of the material. As the filter begins to fill up, only then does it collect and begin to show on the surface of the dust capturing material.

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