The answer: Yes! Should you replace it? Again, the answer is: Yes! But maybe you have never changed your air filter before and are wondering what’s involved. First of all, replacing an air filter is the simplest and yet most often neglected way to keep a heating and cooling system running healthy and efficiently. But how do you do it? We want to put your mind at ease by giving you some basic tips on how to locate and replace your filter.
- Turn off your furnace. Before doing anything else, find the power switch and turn it off. The filter doesn’t involve anything electrical but you want to be safe. Besides, if you are pulling out the air filter it means that the system will be ‘unprotected’ for a short time. So again, it is better to just shut it off.
- Find the air filter. The most likely place will be right next to your furnace or fan unit. But if there is no place for an air filter there, then the other likely place is a large return air grill in a central place in our house. If you can’t find the air filter, then there may be some serious problems with your system. Call a trusted service company to help you.
- Pull out the air filter. Write the size of the filter down on a note pad. You could also take the filter with you to the store, but that could be kind of messy. And if this is your first time to replace the air filter, take a look into the slot that you just pulled it out of. Make sure you don’t see any junk or debris that should be pulled out. Then check that the filter you just pulled out fits the slot well. You should be able to push it all the way back and the front edge should be even with the duct. If it is too small then measure the opening where the filter goes and take that measurement with you. Either way, you want to be sure you take with you something to help you find the right size. It can be very frustrating to stare at shelf upon shelf of filter types and sizes while trying to remember what exactly was in your unit. Just about any hardware store, or home improvement center will sell the filter you are looking for. And if you have to find a size that is different than one you pulled out, show someone at the store the measurement you wrote down and tell them that it is the ‘size of the opening’ the filter must fit into. While you are there, buy two or three filters so you have one for next month.
- Slide the new filter into place. Now this is important: Air filters have a front and back. Look for the arrows on the sides of the filter. Those arrows should be pointing toward the furnace. They indicate the direction the air will flow through the filter. Putting the filter in backwards isn’t dangerous, but it will only work well for a week or so.
- Turn your furnace back on. You’re done! If you want to double check that you did it correctly then turn your furnace on for three of four minutes then turn it off again. Check your air filter. If it has been pulled out of its slot by the airflow, then it wasn’t in there properly. But if it is fine, Good Job! You just changed your own air filter!
Replacing your air filter is a simple but very important part of maintaining your heating and cooling system. Here at GAMA Air we want you to keep your system running the best it possibly can. This is something you can do on your own. But if you need a hand, just call us at (310) 651-6936 and we will be happy to help.
If you have a question for our resident expert, let us know by sending it to us on our “Ask an Expert” page.