Your furnace filter is a hardworking, disposable piece of your HVAC equipment, and replacing it is part of responsible heating maintenance.
Skipping a filter change can make your furnace have to work harder to blow air through it, and it also puts you at risk of breathing in more air particulates, like dust, pollen, and other household pollutants.
And changing an air filter is one of the easiest home maintenance tasks you can do – and it’s easy enough you could even task your teenager with it. Just follow these easy instructions.
When you replace a filter is entirely up to you, as long as you take expert advice into consideration when deciding on your furnace air filter replacement schedule.
Experts recommend you wait no more than three months between changes, but that’s assuming you keep a tidy, dust-free house and live alone or with one or two other people.
But if you have pets or are living with a large family, you’ll want to change your air filter every month. Increased traffic and the introduction of more particulates mean your air filter will essentially “expire” faster.
A great way to decide on how often to change your air filter is to check it to see how visibly dirty it is. If, after a month, your air filter looks clean, you might be able to change it every two or three months. Alternatively, if your air filter is getting filthy fast, you might want to change it more often.
You can get air filters from Meyer Heating and Air sized to fit your furnace. But if you want to purchase them at the local hardware store, then you’ll need to know what size of air filters to buy.
When we refer to air filter size, we mean the physical dimensions of the air filter. Common air filter sizes are 16” by 24”, 14” by 24”, or even 10” by 20”, and they vary in depth from an inch to six inches.
To determine what size air filter your furnace needs, simply look at the size information that’s printed on your existing filter’s cardboard frame. It really is as easy as that.
When it comes to furnace air filter replacement, the most difficult part is probably determining the ideal MERV value for your HVAC system. Choose the wrong one, and you might be looking at an emergency HVAC repair – or you might notice a decline in your home’s indoor air quality.
An air filter’s MERV rating indicates how effective it is at removing dust and other small contaminant particles from the air. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective the filter is.
Filters with MERV ratings of 16 or below are considered appropriate for home HVAC use, but don’t stock up on MERV 16 filters without talking to us first! It’s possible for an air filter to be too effective for your HVAC system, and it can strain it and wear it out more quickly.
Talk to an HVAC tech at Meyer Air or read your system’s manual to determine which MERV rating to choose – or check the air filter we installed on our last HVAC maintenance visit to your home. Just like the size, the MERV rating is printed directly onto the frame of the filter.
Now it’s time for the act of changing your filter! Before you yank it out of place, turn off your furnace so it doesn’t kick on without a filter in it, which could send loose debris flying around. Refer to your owner’s manual to find your filter.
Before you remove your old filter, look for the arrow on the filter frame. This arrow indicates the air flow direction, and you must install your new filter in the same direction as the old one. The arrow should point toward your furnace fan unit.
Grasp the frame of the old filter and slide it out of its housing. Throw it away into a garbage bag to prevent spreading dust everywhere.
Remove the plastic covering from your new furnace air filter and dispose of it. Locate the arrow on the frame of the new filter. Slide the new filter into its spot, ensuring that the arrow is facing the correct direction.
When your new filter is in place, you can turn your furnace back on.
HVAC maintenance and home maintenance in general can be overwhelming at times. If you need help, or if you have questions, don’t hesitate to call a professional for their advice, or to schedule an appointment for them to take care of the issue for you.
Even something as simple as changing an air filter can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Meyer Heating and Air is always happy to help you.
And we’re proud to work with furnace, heat pump, and mini-split brands like Fujitsu General! Like them, we stand behind our work as we strive to be the best at what we do: HVAC maintenance and furnace repair in St. Louis.
The next time you need emergency HVAC repair, or if you need to schedule annual maintenance, call Meyer Heating and Air, a family-owned and operated business serving the greater St. Louis area.
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