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Ultimate Furnace Filter Guide

Last updated on September 28th, 2021

An important part of keeping your furnace running efficiently is performing regular furnace maintenance. A great place to start when conducting furnace maintenance is our Complete Furnace Maintenance Checklist. Though you may not be comfortable completing every maintenance task on your own a simple way to promote furnace health is to perform furnace filter maintenance. This guide will walk you through all you need to know about your furnace filter and how you can take care of it. See our helpful tips and educational information below.

Does a Dirty Furnace Filter Reduce Efficiency?

A dirty furnace filter is problematic for your furnace. Having a clean furnace filter is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to promote furnace efficiency in your home. But why does a dirty furnace filter reduce efficiency?

air quality

Take a moment to think about your furnace pumping air through your home. When your air filter is dirty or clogged it takes more effort for your furnace to effectively circulate the air. Just like a screen door with dirt on it won’t allow the air through, you need to clean it, just like your furnace filter. A clean furnace filter will allow your furnace to effectively move air through your home.

How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter?

Furnace filters should be changed regularly. The exact frequency for changing your furnace filter has a lot to do with your lifestyle. On average most people will need to change their furnace filter every three months to ensure their filter does not become too dirty. There are a few other factors that should be considered when wondering how often you should change your furnace filter. See our quick tips on furnace filter replacements below;

  • Typical home – consider changing your filter every three months
  • Home with one or more pets – you may need to change your filter every two months
  • Residents with allergies – change your filter more frequently on an as needed basis

Remember that a dirty furnace filter can affect you air quality as well as your furnace efficiency. No one person’s home or needs is the same. Consider checking your furnace on a regular basis to ensure it does not need to be cleaned more frequently than every three months

Can I Clean A Furnace Filter?

If you are looking at conducting DIY furnace maintenance you may be wondering if it is possible to clean your furnace filter, rather than replace it. Before cleaning your furnace filter, you should first ensure that your filter is a reusable filter. Typically filters with plastic frames rather than cardboard frames are reusable. Reusable filters should also include a MERV rating between 1-4.

See our quick tips on how to clean your filter below;

  1. Remove filter from furnace.
  2. Rinse filter with water to remove dust, dirt and debris.
  3. Allow filter to dry completely.
  4. Once dry, replace filter into furnace.
  5. Schedule your next filter clean and set a reminder.

are filters reusable

What Furnace Filter Should I Buy?

There are a variety of options available to you when considering which furnace filter to buy. From reusable filters to disposable furnace filters. There are different options for any budget or filtering need. Always consider your personal needs as well as manufacturer recommendations when choosing a filter.

Family Handyman suggest that most furnace manufacturers prefer spun fiberglass filters. These filters offer a wide range of efficiency options. Consider asking a qualified technician what they would use in your specific furnace. They can help you find a great filter that allows your furnace to have optimal efficiency.

Most families will prefer a mid range furnace filter. These offer good performance while also fitting most budgets. If you have allergies or live in an area that causes more air pollution, you may wish to go with a higher end furnace filter.

Can I Recycle My Old Furnace Filter?

If you are replacing your furnace filter on a regular basis you may feel like you are creating a lot of waste. You’ve likely wondered, can I recycle my furnace filter? Though it would be wonderful if you could this may not be possible for every home.

Even when a furnace filter has a recyclable symbol on it, it may not be accepted by your municipality. Always check online or call your local municipality before adding your used filter to the recycle bin. In many cases furnace filters are considered household garbage and should be placed into your garbage for disposal.

Can I Recycle My Old Furnace Filter

Can I use a Furnace Without a Filter?

If you aren’t prone to allergies and feel your air quality is fine you may have wondered, can I use my furnace without a filter? Though skipping a filter may seem like tempting cost savings it is not a good idea to forgo using one.

Furnace filters aren’t just for keeping your air clean. Though that is a wonderful benefit, their main purpose is to keep your furnace running efficiently. Using a furnace without a filter can lead to a variety of furnace issues including;

  • Insufficient airflow
  • Higher utility bills
  • Overheating of the furnace
  • Inefficient furnace performance
  • A higher incidence in breaking down

Not using a furnace filter will likely be more costly than using one and replacing it regularly. Remember that the filter is not only for your comfort. But also, for the health and performance of your furnace too.

How to Change a Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter is quick and easy. Though you could call a technician for assistance in changing your filter this task is simple to do on your own. See our steps below to help you change your filter and keep your furnace running optimally long term.

  1. Determine the size of your filter – furnace filters come in a variety of sizes. It is crucial that you purchase the correct size filter for your furnace. When choosing a furnace filter, you need to know the length, with and thickness you require. The easiest way to do this is to check your user manual. If you can’t locate it. Remove your old furnace filter and read the filter to see what size it is. See Step 2 to learn how to remove your furnace filter.
  2. Remove your old filter – before removing your furnace filter ensure that your furnace is turned off. Locate your furnace filter by looking at your user manual. If you do not have a user manual, life the cover of your furnace. Most filters are located by the blower of your furnace. Once you have located the filter. Remove it and dispose of it according to your municipality’s standards.
  3. Insert the new filter – Determine which way your new filter should face and insert it into your furnace.
  4. Turn your furnace back on – Your new furnace filter is now installed, and it is safe to turn your furnace back on.

How to Change a Furnace Filter

Which Way Does My Furnace Filter Face?

When following our simple steps to change your furnace filter there is one more thing to keep in mind. Remember to always ensure your furnace filter is facing in the correct direction. To ensure this you can do one of two things.
Observe how your previous filter was placed when you took it out or check for the furnace filter arrow. The arrow on you filter ensures you always have the correct direction.

Always ensure that your furnace filter arrow is facing inwards towards your furnace. It is especially important to check for this when you are switching furnace filter brands.

Changing Your Filter Matters

Changing your furnace filter regularly is important. It is not only for your personal air quality but also ensure better furnace performance and health.

Get into a routine of changing your furnace filter on a regular basis. How often you change it will mostly depend on your personal needs. But most people will find that changing their furnace filter every three months is a suitable timeline.

Replacing your furnace filter is quick and easy and can be done on your own. Don’t be afraid to change your furnace filter. Your lungs and wallet will thank you for taking such great care of your furnace!