How to replace your furnace filter

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Replacing your home furnace filter can be one of the simplest do-it-yourself home maintenance tasks....

Replacing your home furnace filter can be one of the simplest do-it-yourself home maintenance tasks. Regular replacement can greatly impact your home heating bills; dirty filters can affect the efficiency of your heater. Particularly in Atlanta, in the "green rain" spring season of pollen, you may want to replace your filter more often than the manufacturer recommends.

How to Replace Your Filter

  • First, locate the area of your furnace where your filter is located. This is usually easily accessible and in a location where you can actually see the edge of the filter. If the area around the filter is dusty, clean it up before removing your furnace filter. If the filter isn't immediately evident, check for a service door. Look for the filter. It is most often a cardboard frame with a mesh screen inside.
  • Next, turn off the heater and slide the filter out of the furnace.
  • If you have a reusable frame (plastic or metal), you'll want to clean the frame, let it dry and return it to the unit. Otherwise, recycle or dispose of the filter after checking the dimensions.
  • Purchase a new filter of the same dimensions at a local hardware store.
  • Install the filter in your furnace and write the date of recommended replacement (usually between 6 and 12 months) on the frame of the filter.

Reusable Filters

If you'd like to switch from disposable to reusable filters, instead of buying another disposable filter, purchase electrostatic filter material that will last about five years. You'll want to cut it to size and install it on a plastic or metal frame before sliding it into your furnace. During the heating season, you'll want to wash the filter with soapy water about once a month.

Regardless of your filter choice, you'll want to have a professional heating contractor clean your duct system every few years. Over time, dust and pollen (and this is of extra importance in Atlanta because of the extreme pollen fall) will collect in the system and reduce heating efficiency.

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