Changing air handler filters: all you need to know
Indoor air quality is particularly important as we head into these long winter months. After all, we are spending a lot of time huddled up indoors, keeping out of the cold weather. This is why we stress the importance of regularly changing your furnace filter.
Filter changes are important year round – particularly if you have pets, a lot of people in your home or suffer from allergies. In fact, if you have an older heating and air system, or if you have any of the above-mentioned situations, it can be a good idea to change your filter monthly. If not, you may only need to change your filter twice a year – once before the heating season and again before the cooling season. But, you are going to be the best judge of your filter changing needs.
So, where to start? Well, you need to determine whether you have a permanent or disposable filter.
- Disposable filters: If you’ve ever gone to a hardware store (or maybe even a grocery store) you’ve probably seen them. These are, as the name suggests, disposable. You will be able to remove them from your system and replace them with another store-bought variation.
- Permanent filters: These can also be called “washable” filters. And, like the name suggests, these filters can be removed from your equipment and machine washed. These are good if you need extra-fine air filtration power, but can be messy to clean and expensive to install.
For permanent filters: locate the filter, remove it from its housing, wash it and return it. A word of caution: make sure that you take the filter outside to clean it. You don’t want the particles that were filtered out of your air to be reintroduced to your indoor air.
If you have a disposable filter, here are the steps you should take to change it.
- Know which size you have. This way you can run to the hardware store and purchase the appropriate replacement.
- Know where your filter is located in your system. This may be your last step if it is located inside your air handler or furnace cabinet. You don’t want to start taking things apart to find the filter. Filters are often located in a return duct attached to the side or top of an air handler. It can be in a return on your wall or could be in multiple places. If you can’t find it, it may be time to call a contractor.
- Remove the old filter and replace it with the new one, making sure that it is the correct way. It’s as simple as that!
- Dispose of your old filter in the proper way. Call your local recycling center and see if they accept old air filters.
So, have you changed your air filter recently? Need some help finding a local HVAC contractor for your filter change?