Replacing a Furnace Filter

by April Reinhardt
(last updated July 29, 2015)

Originally designed to protect the furnace motor and internal components, furnace filters are housed between the air intake and the heating coil, motor, and fan of the furnace. Furnace filters trap dust that can cause damage to the furnace motor. More importantly, however, furnace filters improve airflow and efficiency of a furnace. Without a filter, the furnace would quickly become clogged with dust, forcing it to work harder to expel air, and eventually overheat and break down. If your furnace filter does become clogged, then its purpose is defeated.

Follow these guidelines to replace your furnace filter once a month:

  1. Locate the furnace filter. Your furnace filter can be anywhere in the space between the return air grill and the air handler. The return air grill is one that draws air in instead of blowing air out. In general, however, the furnace filter is inside of the blower compartment.
  2. Turn the power to the furnace off at the main circuit breaker.
  3. Remove the filter and look for size markings on the frame. If you cannot read the markings, use a ruler or yardstick to determine its size.
  4. Replace the filter the same way you removed it.
  5. Turn the power to the furnace back on.
  6. Purchase the same size filter from your local home improvement store.
  7. Turn the power to the furnace off at the main circuit breaker.
  8. Pay attention to the way the current filter is placed when removing it, and then install the new filter the same way. If the new filter is marked with arrows, make sure that the arrows align with the direction the air is to move through your furnace.
  9. Some units require that you remove doors. When replacing the door, make sure that you replace it tightly as some doorframes engage safety switches that control the furnace.
  10. Turn the power for the furnace back on and check to make sure that the furnace is operating correctly.

Most furnace filters today are disposable, although some are meant to be cleaned and reused. You can purchase furnace filters for just a few dollars, or spend a substantial amount of money for permanent filters and those designed to improve air quality. Most furnace filters are made from fiberglass and are rated by the MERV ranking system, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the MERV rating, then the more efficient the filter is going to be. Higher quality filters are available to help improve air quality for household members with allergies and respiratory problems and those filters can make a huge difference.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Selecting Room Colors

When you decide paint colors for rooms of your home, consider objects which will stay in the room, such as furniture, ...

Discover More

What is a Killer Bee?

While it is a fact that Killer Bees are more aggressive and attack in greater numbers than regular honeybees, they also ...

Discover More

Pinot Noir Wine

If you are looking for a wine that is fruity and full-bodied, then your best choice is a Pinot Noir. Be prepared to pay a ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Installing an Evaporative Cooler

One of the best ways to cool your home during the hotter months is by using an evaporative cooler. If you don't already have ...

Discover More

Checking for and Eliminating Drafts

An easy way to check to see where a draft is coming from is to stand with a lighted candle next to a window or door. The ...

Discover More

Insulating Basements

Considering that many homes have their heating and air conditioning units in the basement, it only makes sense that these ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)