Your HVAC air filters play an essential role in keeping the air flowing freely throughout your home, keeping dust at bay while permitting easy breathing. However, when they become blocked with debris and limit airflow, it may be time to clean or replace them for optimal performance.
Your filter can usually be found behind return vents in your walls, ceiling, or utility closet. To clean it effectively, follow these steps.
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How to Know When to Change Your Filter
Filter replacement is one of the easiest and most essential maintenance tasks you can perform to improve heating and cooling efficiency, extend furnace lifespan, and cut energy costs. With furnace repair company, you can trust our experienced technicians to provide fast and professional service on all types of furnace filters. We’ll even help you choose the right filter for your system to ensure optimal performance and cost savings.
Sometimes it is easy to tell when a filter needs cleaning or replacement; when caked-on dust and dirt start falling off, it may be time for cleaning or replacement, but even if your filter appears clean, it should still be regularly changed for optimal performance.
To change a filter, turn off your system at either the breaker box or thermostat and locate where the filter resides – this could be in a return air duct or within the furnace’s blower cabinet. If it is within a return duct, remove its cover grille or access panel by loosening screws and latches with a screwdriver and pulling out your old filter with its orientation (if it contains arrows).
Note the orientation so you can install your new filter correctly when inserting it when installing it properly into its place when inserting its new filter.
Choosing the Right Filter
Filters are measured according to their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. The higher this number is, the more effective it is at trapping particles; your owner’s manual for your heating and cooling system may recommend an ideal range for this rating.
MERV rating measures how effectively air filters capture air-borne particles over time. More expensive filters with higher ratings may cost more but are designed to outlive lower-rated ones and are often more energy efficient.
Filters need to be regularly maintained, depending on your home environment and the use of heating and air conditioning systems. High humidity levels in your house can hasten the rate at which they become dirty; however, even in heavily wooded areas, air conditioning systems should still be effective at keeping dust and pollen from building up in them and entering your home through leaky vents or blowers.
Inspecting Your Filter
Homeowners replacing their filters must ensure the new one fits seamlessly with their system. Filter sizes should usually be printed on their frame; otherwise, home inspectors can measure it to ensure proper fit.
Before beginning any cleaning process, as a safety measure, it is wise to switch off both the HVAC system (and any gas line connections) as this will prevent unfiltered air from re-entering during the cleaning process and lower the risk of fire or electrocution.
Locate the filter compartment – whether that be at a return duct vent or indoor blower unit. With ductless systems, filters may be secured with grooves allowing them to slide out easily rather than being clipped into place like other types.
Pay particular attention as many filters feature arrows indicating their direction of airflow – this can prevent blockage of system air and create gaps where debris, dander, or other indoor air contaminants could enter through gaps in their construction.
Replacing Your Filter
An outdated, dirty air filter can increase energy costs and decrease system lifespan, but changing out filters is an easy and straightforward task.
Before proceeding with your replacement process, however, be sure to take all necessary precautions – this includes wearing protective measures such as a dust mask and nitrile gloves in order to guard yourself against potentially hazardous substances that may exist on old filters.
Before removing your old filter, be certain you have acquired the appropriate size filter for your system. To do this, consult your HVAC manual or refer to the instructions panel on your furnace for guidance.
Once you have the appropriate filter size, carefully remove and dispose of the old one. Do not shake or mishandle this filter, as this could release harmful particles into your home environment. Afterward, secure it in a plastic bag before disposing it responsibly.