Posted on January 15th, 2020
Performing DIY repairs on any large appliance, especially a furnace, can be intimidating. Thankfully, one of the most common furnace maintenance projects can be done with no specialized knowledge.
Learning how to replace a furnace filter should be part of every homeowner’s skill set. If you aren’t sure where to start, read on to find out how to know it’s time for a replacement and how to install a filter.
How Do You Know It’s Time to Change a Furnace Filter?
Many people leave the same filter in their furnace for months (or years) at a time. It’s an easy thing to forget, but filters should be changed out every 30-60 days to keep your heating system working at its best. The exact amount of time will change depending on your home’s existing air quality, whether you have pets, and if anyone in your family has breathing issues.
Single-use paper and fiberglass filters should be white and free of buildup or debris. If you notice that the filter is gray and dirty, don’t just shake off the dust and put it back. It’s time to replace it altogether.
If you have a permanent or reusable filter, you can still follow the steps below. The only difference is that instead of replacing it with a new one, you’ll clean it out with a water sprayer and let it dry off before putting it back in.
How to Replace a Furnace Filter
How long has it been since your filter was replaced? If it has been more than a few months (or you aren’t sure if it has ever been replaced) it’s time to open up your furnace and take a look at what’s inside.
1. Turn off the Furnace
Before opening up any appliance for maintenance, the first step is always to turn it off. Even though the danger of electrocution is small, you could burn yourself if the furnace has been running. There’s also a chance that the system could kick on while the filter is out and send debris circulating through the rest of your HVAC system.
Shut down your heating system by setting your thermostat to “off” and disconnecting power from the furnace. If it’s hot, wait for it to cool down before opening it up.
2. Open the Filter Compartment
Your furnace should have a marked service panel on one side. If you aren’t sure where to look, check the manual or look up your furnace model online. For old furnaces that don’t have manuals, look around the ductwork and blower compartment for a small door panel.
3. Remove and Inspect the Old Filter
Now that the service panel is open, you should be able to peek inside and see your old filter in place. Before you take it out for the first time, make a note or take a photo of how it’s installed so you can put the new one in the right way.
Pay special attention to the direction of airflow—you may want to mark it with an arrow on your furnace or ductwork for future reference. The arrow should point toward the fan. If you reinstall the new filter backward, its efficiency will decrease.
Take the old filter out and immediately seal it in a trash bag to keep the dust from becoming airborne. It should slide out of the furnace with little effort.
With the filter slot empty, take a moment to brush out any visible debris from inside your furnace. A large buildup of debris is a sign that it’s time to schedule a heating tune-up.
4. Purchase a Matching Replacement Filter
Check your furnace’s manual and the existing filter to make sure you buy the correct replacement. You can find furnace filters at most stores with a hardware section. Ordering them online is also simple and can give you a wider selection to choose from.
When buying a replacement, make sure you choose the correct size, material, and MERV rating for your furnace.
5. Install the New Filter
Now that you’re ready to put the new filter in, use the directions you left for yourself earlier to insert it in the right direction. Match up the airflow direction on the filter with your filter’s fan unit and slide it into place. Then, close up the service panel and you’re ready to go.
6. Record the Date of Installation
To make sure you don’t forget to check your filter before it’s too late, write the date down for later reference. Place a sticker or magnetic notepad on or near your furnace to record the dates of your filter changes and any other furnace maintenance and repairs.
7. Restart the Furnace
Now that everything is back in place, you can reconnect the power to your furnace and turn your HVAC system back on with the thermostat. If your old filter was caked with dust before you replaced it, there may be a noticeable improvement in your home’s air quality.
Why You Should Never Ignore a Dirty or Damaged Filter
Not only can keeping your filter clean and updated extend the life of your furnace, but it will also make a huge difference in your home’s air quality.
The EPA recommends using a variety of methods to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ). Using clean filters in your furnace and HVAC unit is one of the easiest ways to trap pollutants before they enter your lungs. If your filter is damaged or caked with dust, your furnace will recirculate harmful particles back into your home’s air.
This is especially important to consider if anyone in your home has asthma or allergies or if you have dander-producing pets. Even if everyone has healthy lungs, a dusty furnace can fill your entire house with an unpleasant burning odor.
Looking for Help with Furnace Repairs?
Even though you now know how to replace a furnace filter yourself, sometimes you need a professional to help you out with repairs.
When that happens, call us at Western Heating & Air Conditioning. We can help you tune-up, fix, and replace your furnace when it’s no longer working at its best. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with a 24/7 service technician.
Posted on October 28th, 2019
Posted on February 8th, 2019
We all know February is the month of LOVE, but I bet you didn’t know that could involve your heating system too… It’s true! Your furnace needs just as much care and special treatment as your significant other, ok maybe not quite as much. But, if you want your “relationship” with your furnace to last, you have to treat it extra special once in a while. Do you show your furnace the love that it needs and deserves?
Five Signs Your Furnace Needs Some Love:
- You’re seeing higher gas bills despite normal usage patterns.
- You hear a vibration or rattling from the furnace.
- You need to set the thermostat higher in order to keep rooms comfortable.
- There is rust around the furnace or feeder pipes.
- You can’t remember when it last had a full tune-up.
If your heating system is showing any of these signs of distress, don’t wait any longer! Apologize fast and give your furnace a Tune-Up from Western Heating & Air this February! A Tune-Up performed by our Certified Comfort Experts will have your furnace feeling factory fresh in no time!
Does your furnace need more than a Tune-Up? Our Certified Comfort Experts can perform a health inspection on your equipment and let you know the best options for repairs or even replacement. If replacement is the best option, take advantage of our February Installation special with a free duct cleaning!
That’s right! When you invest in a new furnace or AC in February you will get a FREE Duct Cleaning ($550 value)!
Let your friends and family know you love them by sharing this important information with them! We look forward to serving you! Give us a call at 801-375-COOL or visit us at TimeForComfort.com today to find out more.
Posted on November 9th, 2018
What To Expect From A Professional Furnace Tune-Up?
All over Utah County the leaves are changing colors, the harvest is here, and the crisp smell of autumn is in the air! You know what that means… it’s time to start thinking about getting your furnace tuned up! But do you really need a furnace tune-up?
Would you drive your car without ever getting the oil changed? Much like your car, a furnace is a well-oiled machine that will run properly and more efficient when correctly maintained. Manufacturers recommend having a tune-up each year. In fact, if regular maintenance is not performed on new equipment most manufacturers will not warranty parts or faulty equipment. It is so beneficial to the home-owner to have this done annually to guarantee fewer breakdowns, save money on utility bills, and prolong the life of your furnace.
As a homeowner, you have many choices when it comes to furnace tune-ups. There are some contractors or companies that will come dust off your furnace and give it a quick look over… maybe even change the filter. But as an intelligent homeowner, you are going to want to make sure that your furnace receives a professional, precision tune-up.
Here are a few of the most important things that a technician should do during a professional tune-up: clean the flame sensor, inspect the heat exchanger, adjust the gas pressure, test the safety controls, inspect the electrical connections, check for combustion air, test for carbon monoxide, pull and clean the burners, pull and clean the blower wheel, check for gas leaks, check the capacitor, check the blower motor, calibrate the thermostat, and of course… change the filter!
Posted on November 16th, 2017
Last Chance to Nominate for the Gift of Heat
Our Nominations for 2017 Gift of Heat are coming to a close.
If you know of a homeowner in Utah County who is in need of a new furnace but doesn’t have the means to purchase one, please HELP US give them THE GIFT OF HEAT!
Watch us on Fresh Living share a tip for your furnace + more information about The Gift of Heat.
Our selected nominee will receive a brand new furnace plus installation free! Help us make someone warm and happy this winter :).
Nominations end at midnight on November 17th, 2017.
Posted on September 21st, 2017
Prepare Your Furnace for Winter
Fall is the perfect time to get your home ready for winter. Your highest priority for this season is heating and that’s where your furnace comes in. Take care of it now so you’ll be spared the freezing consequences later.
1. Replace filters you probably spend most of your time indoors during the cold months. Dirty filters will contaminate the air you breathe, decrease the efficiency of your furnace and overwork your blower. Regular replacement will prevent this problem, and keep your winter breathing clearer.
2. Clear your mechanical room of debris remove unrelated items from the room, particularly flammable items. Make sure to leave the areas around your unit clear for servicing or repair. Concentrate on the area around the duct opening from outside. This outdoor air is critical for your furnace to burn gas completely so you don’t get carbon monoxide in your home when it’s all fired up in winter.
3. Do visual checks on internal parts like the blower and burners Open your furnace and take a look at the blower belt and motor. Make sure the belt is tight and clean any dust from the motor and blower. This ensures your furnace’s efficiency is maximized and reduces the likelihood of failure when the fan is running at top speed during winter. Inspect your burner and gas connection for signs of corrosion, dirt or loose connections. This is critical for safety of you and your family.
4. Clean ductwork and check for leaks have a Western Technician clean your ductwork before the season starts to keep the air in your home safe and breathable this winter. Turn on your furnace (you can use the fan-only setting on your thermostat) and listen closely for air escaping from ductwork. Note whether there are grilles with not enough air coming through as this can indicate a leak in that branch of your duct system.
5. Clean the area around your flue exhaust as with the combustion air intake, make sure the area around the flue exhaust is clear of debris to keep your furnace working safely and to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Remove branches and other debris from the flue outlet and when the snow comes, make sure it’s not piled around your flue vent. If the vent is on the roof, make sure there are no birds’ nests blocking the air from your furnace exhaust.
Have a professional technician from Western Heating & Air Conditioning inspect your furnace. Give us a call at 801-375-COOL or visit TimeForComfort.com for us to do a full inspection and tune up so your furnace is completely ready for the coming winter.