Finding Duct Leaks

Change The Filter? Huh? A Guide to Furnace Filters for New Homeowners

If you're brand new to the world of homeownership, there are probably a lot of things you're still figuring out – such as what a furnace filter is and why it's so important that you change it. Indeed, changing your furnace filter is one of those little hassles you have to deal with as a homeowner, but armed with the following information, you should be able to handle it.

What is a furnace filter, and what does it do?

The filter is just a disposable device that slips between your furnace's blower unit and the opening to the return air duct. It catches debris like pet dander, mold spores, and dust as your furnace sucks in the air. This way, these particles do not end up in your furnace or being blown around your home again and again.

How do you find the furnace filter and change it?

Usually, the filter can be found in a slot located next to your furnace and bordered on the other side by a  large air duct. It should be standing vertically. To take it out, you just pull it upwards. To put a new one in, you just slide it in place. If you're staring at your furnace and can't, for the life of you, figure out where the filter may be, simply search the make and model of your furnace online to find a diagram.

What kind of filter do you need?

The cheapest, fiberglass filters available at home improvement stores are an okay choice for most homeowners on a tight budget. If you have allergies or have pets in your home, consider paying a few dollars more for a cotton HEPA filter, which will catch more pet dander and smaller particles.

Take your old filter with you to the home improvement store to ensure you buy the right size. There are many different sizes of furnace filters, so read carefully.

How often should you change your furnace filter?

Every one to three months is sufficient. If you have allergies, pets, or a very dusty home, aim for the more frequent end of this scale. Keep in mind that if you have central air, the air it uses will flow through the same filter, so you'll want to keep up with changing it during the summer, too.

Failure to change your filter can lead to a dusty home, allergy symptoms, and increased wear on your furnace. Thankfully, this is one task associated with being a homeowner that's not tough at all once you figure out what you're doing. However, if your heating system is acting up, consider calling a heating specialist, such as R & B Heating & Air Conditioning, to take a look.