As we head towards the cold season, furnaces will be some of the most important HVAC systems in homes. This means homeowners should have their systems inspected well in advance to ensure they don’t stop working at the middle of winter.
Among the components to be wary of is the filters. Dirty filters make furnaces operate sub-optimally and this can shorten their lifespan. It should not come as a shock that some homeowners are not even aware that furnaces need filters. Basically, filters are crucial in that they help keep the debris and dust out of the furnace and eventually out of your home.
The Positioning of Your Filter in Your Furnace
In a furnace, the filter is normally located in one of the below three areas:
- Above or below the furnace system – There is usually a latched door through which the filter slides in.
- In the return air grill – This is unmistakable because it happens to be the largest grill of all in your home.
- Within the furnace – In order to find it, you may have to remove the front door.
When you successfully locate the filter, you should pull it out and carefully examine it to ensure it is clean. When brand new, a majority of filters are either dark yellow or white in color. If your filters look black or greyish, it is time you replaced them with new ones.
Washable filters can be cleaned and then reinstalled. However, before putting them back, ensure they are dry.
Frequency of Replacing Filters
One of the factors that determine how often you should have your filter changed is the width of the filter. A filter that measures about 1’’ in thickness should be replaced after every 2 to 3 months. Filters that are about 4 to 5 inches thick are best replaced every 6 to 7 months. Lastly, for filters that have the shape of an accordion, the frequency of change is once every year.
Now that you have established where to locate your filters and the frequency of change, the hardest part lies in remembering when it is time to change them. One of the tips you can benefit from is to change your filters during daylight savings time. The other option is to use your thermostat as a reminder of when it is time to change your filters. A number of high end thermostats are capable of reminding you as long as you do a manual setting.
While many homeowners may not imagine that a filter can stop an entire furnace from working, it is real and they can drastically affect the overall performance of your entire system. The earlier you do it, the better because you are saving yourself costly diagnostic fees.