By Megan Kramer, Performance Homes Consultant
Ask yourself... When was my furnace filter last changed?
If you have a general idea - great you are better than most.
If you have no idea - well, you are not alone.
But - you may be off the hook because not all homes have a furnace filter... If you are not sure - get in touch - I can help you figure it out!
If you have a ductless heat pump or a heat pump water heater you also have a filter just a different kind.
Check out this furnace filter I saw the other day. Someone did write the date on the side, so we know it was last changed on 7/1/2015. That means there is about 2.5 years of crud on this filter! I also found a dead rodent in the plenum and the filter was installed upside down...
So... I decided to share a little bit about furnace filters.
With so many aspects of this industry taking place behind the scenes - it is nice to offer a clear, easy to understand, inexpensive DIY tip that can instantly increase the life of your equipment and improve the indoor air quality in your home.
****Please Note - If your system has not been serviced recently, you do not know where the filter is or you are not comfortable doing this task, please call an HVAC expert. A filter change is part of regular maintenance just like when you get the oil changed in your car. It is a great idea to have an HVAC professional out on a regular basis to service your equipment. You can often find a list of companies through your local utility.****
But, for the DIYers out there...
Quick, Easy Cost Effective Filter Tips:
Find your filter - There are only 2 possible locations for your furnace filter either the return air grill in the wall or ceiling or at the actual furnace.
Find your furnace - Common locations include basements and garages. It may be in a closet or laundry room. It could also be in the crawlspace or attic, in which case you may want to call a professional depending on how comfortable you are accessing these areas of your home.
Check your filter - If the filter is located in the return grill you will probably have to get out a ladder or step stool and unscrew the cover which will swing out on hinges. If your filter is at your furnace, it may be in a special cabinet attached to the furnace, it may just have a small metal flap holding it in place, it may even go into the furnace cabinet itself. You may need to get out the manual...
Record the filter size - write down the length x width x height and put the filter back in even if it is dirty. If it is really dirty you may want to turn the system off and head straight to the store for a replacement. Purchase 2 or 3 filters so you always have a new one available.
Change the filter - When you change the filter write the date it was installed on the filter for future reference. Also be sure to position the filter so the air flow arrow is pointing toward the furnace cabinet.
Change it again - Check the filter in a few months and change it again if it is dirty. A good rule is to change your filter every 6 months but you need to find what works for your home. If it is dirty, change it. If you find the filter is clean you do not need to change it as frequently.
Instant Improvement - Your furnace will not have to work as hard and will run smoother with a clean filter. In addition, your indoor air quality will be improved.
All For just a few minutes of your time and about $20 plus a trip to hardware store.