Are your monthly energy costs high? When's the last time you changed the disposable filter on your furnace?
Over the years I've written several articles on changing disposable air filters on furnaces.
It's a simple enough task, can save you money and keep the air in your home cleaner, and yet so many homeowners forget to do it.
It may not be a fun chore, nor is it something remarkable to discuss over dinner, and certainly you might enjoy some bragging rights, but, the end result will povide you comfort.
There are several different types of furnace filters: single framed filters, accordian pleated and washable. Some furnaces have an Electronic Air Cleaner installed on the system that takes the place of a filter. Whatever kind you might have installed on your furnace, it needs some love. Your furnace takes part in the maintenance and efficiency of your heating system.
Your filter helps by
- Protecting your furnace from dust and debris
- Dust can damage your motor and cause costly repairs
- Removing the dust, pet dander, skin cells, dirt, pollen, fibers from carpet and any other airborn particulates from your system.
- Keeping your house cleaner...AND removing allergens
So...here we go!
- Determine the size or type of filter required
- Your heating contractor can let you know. The best time to inquire is when you schedule your annual furnace tune-up service. You can even ask your contract to deliver a case of filters for you, and save the time and trouble of purchasing them yourself!
- Locate the filter rack
- Typically you'll find this device installed at the return or the entrance to the blower chamber
- Determine the size of the disposable filter. (Usually this is printed on the side of the filter)
- Slide out the filter
- Don't pull, and if the filter doesn't remove easily, check to see if there is a locking mechanism
- A disposable filter has a cardboard frame. If your filter has a metal or plastic frame do not remove and discard it, this means your filter may be washable.
- Your local heating contractor can instruct you on the maintenance of a permanent filter
- You'll notice an arrow pointing to the direction of the air flow. Be cerain to install the filter the right way (towards the blower)
- Secure the door or filter rack
As I've mentioned so many times before, your furnace filter should be changed monthly during seasonal operation. That means, yes, if your system has central air conditioning installed along with this furnace, your disposable filter should be changed once a month!
Some folks dislike the thought of having to bother each month. An alternative, as mentioned above, is a filter that you wash and reinstall. Some more permanent filters can be placed on the top rack of your dishwasher and reinstalled in your filter rack. This is also a pleasing alternative to environmentally conscious consumers.
Consider an Electronic Air Cleaner. It does the job, effortlessly, and not only is "green" but requires less maintenance. (But that doesn't mean no maintenance) Your electronic air cleaner must be cleaned, and this, too, is something you can arrange for at the time of your annual furnace tune-up and maintenance.
Pleated filters can remain in place for a few months, however our experience with many, many customers is that a few months becomes 6 and than a year and when our customers call to report they have no heat and need service, it's often because the filter is so obstructed with debris that the furnace has shut down.
A dirty filter makes your furnace work harder. The harder your furnace has to work, more tired it gets (and therefore its useful life shortens). Ultimately, ignoring your filters can permanently damage your furnace. Additionally, the harder your furnace works, struggling to push that heat into your home, the more energy it uses. The more energy your furnace uses, the more it costs each month.
Changing or cleaning your furnace filter is a win-win situation.