How To Replace Furnace Filters? Essential Tips And Tricks

Changing the furnace filter every three months is essential. It helps maintain a cleaner indoor environment, enhances overall efficiency and prevents costly repairs. There are various types of filters available, such as fiberglass, pleated and paper filters. To replace your furnace filter, follow the steps given below.

  • Turn off the thermostat before replacing the filter. 
  • Check the direction of airflow – there’s an arrow on the cardboard frame.

Doing this consistently ensures a cleaner home environment with less pollen & allergens, plus it saves cost on expensive repair bills. 

How To Replace Furnace Filters

A furnace filter

Why is Replacing the Furnace Filter Important?

A dirty filter restricts airflow, so your home won’t be as clean and energy-efficient. It can also lead to costly repairs or breakdowns. Replacing the filter will help keep the air clean, improve airflow, and increase energy efficiency. This simple task has a positive effect on your family’s health, especially if anyone has allergies or respiratory problems.

Aside from avoiding pricey repairs and breakdowns, replacing the furnace filter can help extend the life of your heating system. Clean filters stop dirt, debris, and pollutants from blocking up the blower motor or ductwork.

Choose a filter that is the right size, type (fiberglass or pleated), and airflow direction (indicated by an arrow). Stock up on extra filters to have on hand when it’s time to replace them.

How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace Filter?

Replacing your furnace filter is a must-do for great indoor air quality and proper heating system airflow. Forgetting can result in decreased efficiency, higher energy bills, and poor air quality.

  • Change your filter every 1-3 months, depending on filter type and use.
  • If you have allergies or pets at home, replace the filter more often.
  • If you use expensive filters or permanent ones, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

It’s wise to check your filter periodically so you can replace it when it’s dirty. It’ll be gray or brown if it needs replacing. 

Steps to Replace the Furnace Filter

To replace your furnace filter and improve your indoor air quality, follow this step-by-step guide. 

  • Turn off your furnace system and locate the filter. 
  • Remove the old filter, and check the arrow direction for the new filter.

This guide includes instructions on how to install the new filter and turn on the furnace system.

Step One: Turn off the Furnace System

Before replacing the furnace filter, safety must come first! Turn off the furnace system to prevent any mishaps or damage.

  1. Locate the power switch and turn it OFF.
  2. If you can’t find a power switch, use your home’s circuit breaker to cut the power supply.
  3. Make sure the thermostat is set to “Off” too.

Be careful not to touch any electrical connections while turning off the system or you may get electrocuted. Wait for ten minutes before opening the filter door as some furnaces have a cooling mechanism.

After replacing the filter, reverse the steps to turn on the system again.t.

Step Two: Locate the Furnace Filter

To replace the furnace filter, you must know where to find it. Here’s how:

1Shut off the furnace – Before looking for the filter, switch off the HVAC system.
2Check the return air duct or blower compartment – The filter might be in either of these places.
3Look for a slot – See if the air filter fits in a slot in the return air duct or blower compartment.
4Read the owner’s manual – To make sure, check the heating system owner’s manual.
5Consult a pro – If you’re still stuck, ask a technician for help.

Remember, permanent filters need different cleaning methods compared to disposable ones. Also, don’t forget that locating the filter can be a hassle – mishandling could cause damage. 

Step Three: Remove the Old Filter

The process of removing your old furnace filter is important. Dirty filters release particles into the air, decreasing the lifespan of the system. Follow these steps to change out the filter.

  • Find the filter compartment and switch off the power. Locate the furnace filter, either near the air outlet. Then, turn off the power from the circuit breaker box.
  • Remove the access panel. Undo any screws or clips that attach the access panel to the filter compartment.
  • Remove the filter. Hold onto both ends of the HVAC filter and pull it out. Be careful not to touch any dust or debris.
  • Dispose of the old filter. Place a trash bin next to you and put the filter inside.

Also, make sure your air duct insulation is secure before adding a new filter. Refer to any instructions in the user manual that come with the new device. 

Step Four: Check the Arrow Direction for the New Filter

Must replace the furnace filter properly Here’s a 4-step guide:

  1. Remove the old filter. Check arrows or markers for air flow direction.
  2. Look at the furnace manual. Locate and identify spots for new filters.
  3. Before installation, make sure there’s an arrow marker. The wrong direction can cause damage or restrict airflow.
  4. Gently put a new filter in the designated slot. Make sure the arrow faces toward the furnace.

Different filter types have different guidelines or arrows. Get to know your model-specific replacements. Take these small steps for efficient operation improvements. study found that “clean filter lowers cooling costs by 5%”

Step Five: Install the New Filter

For replacing the furnace filter, the next step is to install the new one. This is an important part of the entire process to make sure it works properly. Here are 4 steps to help you install a new furnace filter:

  1. First, carefully lift out the old filter and keep it aside for disposal.
  2. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them. Insert the new filter correctly.
  3. If the filter is reusable, clean and dry it before reinserting it.
  4. Close any access panels or doors and switch on your furnace. Check if it works.

Using filters with high MERV ratings can cause strain on the motor. So, make sure to pick the right filter for your system. We suggest changing your furnace filters every 30-90 days, depending on use and type of system.

Remember, replacing furnace filters on time ensures energy efficiency and longer life of your HVAC unit.

Step Six: Turn on the Furnace System

Once you’ve swapped the furnace filter, it’s essential to switch on the system in the correct way. To ensure proper operation and safety, here’s what to do:

  • Find the power switch. Turn it on to give power to the furnace.
  • Set the thermostat at a temperature higher than the room’s. This signals the furnace to start heating.
  • Wait a few minutes. You should hear the fan kick in. 
  • If you feel warm air coming out of the vents. That shows the system is working properly.

If the furnace doesn’t start or you spot issues with how it operates, switch off the power switch straight away. Get help from a professional technician.

Mark the date of each filter change in your calendar or set reminders. This way, you can keep track of when it was last changed and when it needs to be replaced again. It also ensures your system works correctly all the time.

Types of Furnace Filters

To help you choose the right furnace filter for your heating system, this section o will guide you. Each type has unique features that affect air quality, allergies, airflow, efficiency, and cost. Knowing the differences can help you make an informed decision for your home improvement task.

Fiberglass Filters

Fiberglass furnace filters are one of the most widely used air filters. Spun fiberglass makes them relatively inexpensive. They can capture large particles, such as dust and dirt, and to some extent, pollen and pet dander. However, they only need to be replaced every month or two, depending on usage.

  • These filters won’t improve indoor air quality as much as other high-filtration options, like HEPA filters. 
  • They don’t normally cause airflow restrictions in HVAC systems either. 
  • Their filtering efficiency ranges from 1 to 4 MERV.

People with severe allergies or asthma should steer clear of these filters. Also, be careful when handling them – the small fibers can irritate your skin and lungs. Don’t let the accordion-like appearance deceive you – the pleated filter is great at trapping dirt and debris.

Pleated Filters

Pleated furnace filters have special features that set them apart from other types. They are crafted from synthetic fibers to effectively filter out pollutants and contaminants.

  • These filters last longer than others due to their design featuring increased surface area and dust-holding capacity.
  • They also capture tiny particles like pollen, pet dander, and mold spores, so they’re great for those with allergies or breathing troubles.
  • Plus, the pleats offer less air resistance and higher air throughput, making them energy-efficient and great for saving money while keeping the air quality high.

These filters come with MERV ratings, which tell you how well they filter the air. When looking for a pleated furnace filter, make sure you check this rating to find the right one for you.

Electrostatic Filters

Electrostatic Air Filters are filters that use electricity to capture pet dander and pollen. They are becoming popular among homeowners. Six key points to know about them:

  • Generate an electric charge that attracts particles.
  • Trap smaller pollutants than fiberglass filters, e.g. smoke & microscopic dust.
  • Capture 95% of airborne particles.
  • Require cleaning instead of replacing, making them cost-effective.
  • Charge weakens over time, reducing efficiency, so clean regularly or change.
  • Come in washable and disposable options.

Interesting that electrostatic filters provide clean air without noise. Not suitable for people with asthma or allergies, as cleaning can kick up dust and allergens.

HEPA Filters

HEPA Filtration is the ultimate solution for superior air quality. It can remove allergens, pollutants and other harmful substances from the air with a 99.97% efficiency, capturing particles as small as 0.3 microns.

For optimal performance, regular maintenance is a must. When it comes to purchasing HEPA Filters, go for a reliable brand that values product quality over price. 

Choosing the Right Furnace Filter for Your Home

When it comes to maintaining your HVAC system, the furnace filter is key. Here are some important factors to consider:

  • The size of your unit: Check the system manual for the filter size.
  • The type of filter: There are fiberglass, pleated, and high-efficiency filters. Choose one that fits your needs and budget.
  • The MERV rating: This shows how well the filter traps particles. The higher the rating, the better the filtration.
  • The airflow direction: Check the arrow on the old filter and replace it the same way.
  • The frequency of replacement: It depends on air quality, pets, and allergies. It may be every few months or once a year.
How To Replace Furnace Filters

        Different kinds of furnace filters 

Talk to an HVAC professional or store employee if you have questions. Choosing and replacing furnace filters is essential for indoor air quality and the furnace system. Don’t forget this maintenance task. Paper filters from the past had to be changed often, but now there are fiberglass-reinforced polyester and pleated filters

How to Clean and Reuse a Permanent Furnace Filter

It’s eco-friendly to clean and reuse your permanent furnace filter. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the HVAC unit. Locate the filter panel and carefully remove the old filter.
  2. Use a soft-bristled brush or vacuum cleaner to get rid of loose debris. Rinse stubborn particles with warm water and let dry before reinstalling.
  3. Place the filter into the panel, with the arrow facing the direction of airflow.

Clean your permanent furnace filter at least once every three months for best results. Invest in quality filters, change disposable filters, and maintain blower motors and ducts yearly. 

Tips and Tricks for Replacing Your Furnace Filter

To make the process of replacing your furnace filter easier, keep some simple tips and tricks in mind. 

  • Be sure to clean up any loose debris near your furnace system and check the airflow direction before inserting the new filter. 
  • It is also important to clearly mark the date of replacement on the new filter with a permanent marker for future reference. 
  • Finally, store any replacement filters in a clean, dry place for optimal performance.

Clean Up Loose Debris After Replacing the Filter

After replacing the furnace filter, it’s essential to clean up any loose debris. Not doing this can reduce air quality and damage your HVAC system. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off and unplug the HVAC system.
  2. Remove debris with a vacuum or brush.
  3. Dispose of large debris, such as leaves or pet hair.
  4. Clean the area with a damp cloth.

Check for water leaks near the HVAC unit too. Water damage is bad for you and your HVAC system. Also, don’t forget to clean the air ducts. They can collect dust and other contaminants, which can affect indoor air quality.

Check the Air Flow Direction Before Installing the New Filter

Before installing a new filter in your furnace, it is essential to check the airflow direction. This certifies that the filter works effectively and improves air quality. Here is a five-step guide for checking airflow direction:

  1. Turn off the furnace.
  2. Locate the return air duct.
  3. Find the arrow on the old filter or ductwork.
  4. If no arrow, check which side has more debris accumulation. This should face the furnace.
  5. Snap the new filter in securely.

Different filters may need specific instructions. Also, regular checks can stop damage to your furnace and high energy bills. Proper maintenance of the furnace is more than just changing filters. Neglecting this may cause costly repairs or even health issues from poor air quality. 

Use a Permanent Marker to Note the Date of Replacement on the New Filter

Writing the date of replacement on your new furnace filter is essential. Note the current date in a permanent marker, somewhere visible. This way you can keep track and ensure optimal functioning.

  • Replace the old filter with a new one
  • Write the date of replacement in permanent marker on the frame
  • If reusing, use permanent markers for writing dates during cleaning and maintenance
  • Monitor and inspect regularly. Change filters as needed.
  • Set reminders to avoid forgotten replacements

Remember to switch off the power before dusting. Additionally, mark tally marks within months for more accurate tracking. Don’t forget to recheck. 

Store Filters in a Clean, Dry Place

Keep air filters dust and moisture-free when storing them. Otherwise, they’ll accumulate dirt and debris. This could mean filter replacements more often, plus lower energy efficiency.

Different amounts of air come in during different seasons. So, use seasonal replacement schedules for your filter. For example, replace every 30 days in spring/summer due to more allergens and other airborne contaminants.

Reusable filters are made of foam and aluminum mesh. Wash them before re-insertion into the HVAC system. But still store away from dust and moisture.

Label the new filter with a marker and date for easy reference. Breathe clean air and save money on energy bills with regular furnace filter replacement.


Switching out old furnace filters with new ones can help boost air quality inside and reduce energy bills. Replacing them monthly or when needed will make your HVAC system work better, and avoid costly repairs. If the filter is too dirty, it can restrict air flow and damage the heating system. So pick the right filter, as suggested by the manufacturer. Replacing the filter is a simple job. Make sure to check for any loose debris in the ductwork before putting the new filter in. Today, there are all kinds of furnace filters out there: fiberglass, pleated paper, and permanent washable filters. Each type has its own efficiency level and lifespan, so choose the one that suits your needs.