The furnace filter is a key component of forced air heating and cooling systems, like a furnace or heat pump. The air filter works to protect equipment from damaging dust, dirt, and other matter, while maintaining proper airflow through the system. As an added bonus, filters also keep indoor air cleaner as they remove airborne particles from circulation.
Throughout the winter (as well as the rest of the year), you need to change furnace filter media and replace it with a new filter often. Williams Comfort Air shares why it’s important to change a furnace filter regularly, as well as how often to check and change your furnace filter. These tips help you remove and replace filters the right way to ensure the filter functions correctly.
As a homeowner, it’s important that you change your furnace filter as part of the routine maintenance your heating and cooling system requires. This air filter may be disposable or reusable, though disposable filters are most common. Even when filters are frequently changed, many homeowners do not know their true purpose.
As mentioned above, the furnace filter’s purpose is to remove dirt, dust, and other particulates from the air that circulates through the HVAC system. Furnaces and air handlers are filled with many delicate components and their function can be disrupted when they become dirty or covered in a layer of grime. When you install a new filter, it provides the protection these components need to maintain performance and energy efficiency. In turn, energy costs are reduced and the system lasts longer.
An HVAC filter primarily removes airborne particulates for the benefit of the heating unit – however, this process also benefits indoor air quality. By trapping contaminants, the home’s air quality is cleaner. Filters with higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value – the measure that reflects a filter’s ability to remove contaminant particles of different sizes) ratings are more effective at capturing smaller particles, keeping them out of the indoor air supply. Their use can help boost air quality.
All forced air HVAC heating and cooling systems need adequate airflow to function correctly – air filters help facilitate this. When you change furnace filter units, the clean filter works to help the system stay balanced and avoid static pressure buildup.
When you fail to change your furnace filter, a number of issues may arise in your home. You need to keep filter replacement on your to-do list and change a furnace filter regularly to avoid problems such as:
How do you know when it’s time to change your filter? The amount of time between changing will vary from one home to the next – the filter’s type, thickness size, and MERV rating along with the air quality and heating usage of the home impact how often a new one is needed. If you have a larger household, indoor pets, family members who are sensitive to allergens, or smoke indoors, you’ll find the filter becomes clogged with contaminants faster than it would in a home where these factors are not present and you need to change your filter more frequently.
Filter manufacturers typically offer a recommendation as to how often you should change a furnace filter, which may be anywhere from every one month, every six months, or once every year. These recommendations are a guideline – you need to check your filter often to know how often you need to be changing it.
During the winter months, HVAC units run for much of the day. Increased system usage during the cold means the filter fills faster than during periods of milder temperatures, so the time between filter changing varies by the season. For this reason, it’s a good idea to remove and check the filter every month to know its condition and if it’s time to replace.
Changing filters is an easy maintenance step that most homeowners find they’re able to do on their own. When you change a furnace filter, just remove the old one and replace it with a new one.
However, not just any old filter will do – you need to know the right size. In the hardware store’s filter aisle, you’ll find there are a multitude of different-size filters available. Before you buy a replacement, check the markings on the existing filter or your furnace owner’s manual to know the correct option. If you use a filter of a different size, it won’t work correctly. The filter won’t fit properly in the filter cabinet, which allows air to pass by unfiltered, and the filter could fall, causing a blockage in the furnace.
Step-by-step instructions to change furnace filter disposables are as follows:
If you use a washable, reusable air filter, you need to wash it before replacement. Lay the filter flat with the dirt and dust facing up. Vacuum the filter to remove dirt and debris as best as you can. Next, rinse the filter with water to remove remaining debris, using your hands or a soft brush to loosen them as needed – do not use soap or detergent to clean the filter. Let the filter dry completely before reinserting it in the compartment in the proper direction.
4. Replace the filter compartment access panel, if applicable.
Filter maintenance is critical to the efficient performance of your furnace or heating system throughout the winter season. The tips above explain why it’s so important to keep up with this routine step. If you have questions about furnace filters for your heating unit, require help to change a furnace filter, or wish to purchase furnace filters for replacement, contact Williams Comfort Air today.