How to Replace an HVAC Filter

Homeowners take pride in keeping their homes well maintained. One of the most common tasks is to replace the filter on your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) unit. However, you’d be surprised how many homeowners don’t feel confident to change the filter. If you’re not familiar with the task, then this article will be invaluable to you. Read on to learn how.

Why Change Your Filter?

Before you learn the details, it’s important to understand why you need to change your filter regularly. Filters work to pull pollutants out of the air as it passes through the HVAC system. It’s when filters become too full that they no longer work. That means bacteria, mold, mildew, viruses and other impurities will continue floating around in your home. Some experts estimate that indoor air is more harmful than outdoor pollution without proper filtration. By changing your filter consistently, you protect the health of everyone in your home.

The other benefit is the money you save. When the filter clogs up, the HVAC system must work harder to push air through it. Eventually, this will damage the unit, and you’ll face expensive repairs. By keeping a clean filter, you promote a full and healthy life for your system. On top of that, your electric bill will stay slightly lower because the unit won’t pull so much energy to run.

How Often to Replace Filters

You should replace your air filter once it’s full. For the average single-family home, this comes about every three months. However, you should take into account the sensitivity of occupants to irritants and added pollutants that may be present. The two most common issues are allergy sufferers and the presence of pets. In both cases, you may need to check the filter every one or two months.

How to Buy the Right Filter for Your System

Filters typically come with dimensions printed on them. It should note the thickness, width and length. The easiest way to get the information is from your old filter. You can also ask your local HVAC company, or you can check the documents that came with your system. Failing those, you can pull out a tape measure and record the numbers yourself. The easiest way, however, is to simply take out the old filter and bring it with you to the store.

Locating Your Filter

You filter will be located inside your HVAC unit, most likely in a closet, basement or attic. If you don’t know where you unit resides, then turn it on at the thermostat. You’ll hear the humming of the system, and you can simply follow the noise. The filter itself is typically located in a slot inside the unit. You may need to remove an access panel first. Most have clips or a handle. However, some require you to remove a few screws using a household screwdriver. You should then see a flat or thick cardboard edge. That’s the filter.

Removing the Old Filter

Once you’ve located the filter, removing it is usually as easy as sliding it out. A gentle tug should do. Take care to turn your system off before removing the filter. You don’t want dirt or the filter itself to be sucked inside the vents.

Installing the New Filter

  • If you’ve already purchased a replacement filter from the store, then you merely need to place it back in the slot where you found the old one.
  • Take note to look for arrows on the side of the filter indicating the correct direction of airflow.
  • If the filter won’t fit on the first try, then flip it over. If it won’t fit in any position, then you’ve likely purchased the wrong size.
  • Once the filter is in place, replace the panel or screws and turn the unit on again.
  • That’s it! You’ve correctly installed a new HVAC filter in your home. Enjoy the cleaner air and lower electric bills.

Preventative Maintenance

Changing filters is a form of HVAC maintenance. By making it a regular habit, you keep your system from breaking down unnecessarily. The idea of preventing problems before they arise isn’t new. However, it’s very important for your heating and cooling system. That’s why many HVAC companies now offer preventative maintenance agreements.

You can use preventative maintenance to avoid expensive emergency repairs. Typically, you pay much higher costs to pull a technician away from routine work or the middle of a weekend. Likewise, replacement parts cost you more. The bottom line is that it costs just as much or more to wait until problems hit unexpectedly. By scheduling yearly preventative maintenance, you’re lowering the cost of money you would have spent anyway. Plus, you get the added benefit of significantly lowering your electric bill, which heating and cooling accounts for almost half.

Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning

Now that you understand the importance of changing your air filter, consider calling Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning for your HVAC maintenance. We offer competitive rates on preventative maintenance, and we include filters as part of the service. Call us today to find out how our service pays for itself.

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