How to Quickly and Easily Replace Your Furnace's Filter: Eleven Easy Steps (with Pictures)

If you want to keep your home's air clean and your furnace running smoothly, changing the filter is the quickest and easiest way to do both.

  1. 1

    Before you check or replace the filter, the furnace must be turned off. Put the thermostat in the "off" position to turn the heater off. While you are checking or replacing the filter, the furnace won't turn on accidentally.

    • If the furnace is turned on without a filter, it could potentially damage the home by sucking in a lot of loose debris.
    • If you need detailed instructions on how to replace the filter in your furnace, you should consult the manual.

    Monthly filter checks can help you determine if you need to replace it. Disposable filters should typically be changed every few months. Filter deterioration is accelerated by the presence of furry pets or continuous furnace use.

  2. 2

    Disengage the furnace by removing the door panel (by opening or sliding it). In either case, your furnace will have a door that opens by swinging out or slipping off. If you need to get into the furnace, you should either open the door or take it off. [1]

    • Most sliding doors can be removed by simply being lifted until they release and then being set aside.

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  3. 3

    Find your furnace's filter and take off the cover you see above it. Filters are typically installed at the air return duct or blower chamber inlet. There is often a second cover over the filter that needs to be removed. [2]

    • Locate the filter close to the air return duct or the blower chamber entrance, which is where air enters the furnace system.
  4. 4

    Take out the used filter and examine it under a microscope. Inspect the filter by gently removing it with both hands. Look at it under a bright light to see how dirty it is and whether or not it needs to be replaced. [3]

    • There may be a locking mechanism preventing the filter from sliding out if you encounter any resistance. If you find such a system, you can unlock the filter by sliding the lock to the side.
  5. 5

    If you're unable to see through the filter, you should get a new one. When no light comes through the filter when you hold it up to a light, it needs to be replaced. Maintaining proper airflow through the furnace and preventing it from overheating requires regular filter changes. [4]

    • Cardboard supports the filter paper in disposable models. Filters with plastic or metal frames can be cleaned and reused multiple times before needing to be replaced.

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  1. 1

    Measurements can be found on the cardboard support structure of the used filter. The disposable filter's frame will have the filter size printed on it. Write it down and take the measurements with you when you go to purchase a replacement filter. [5]

    • If your filter does not have measurements printed on it, you can either use a measuring tape to determine the exact size you need or refer to the owner's manual for the manufacturer's suggestions.
  2. 2

    Get a new filter that fits properly. Purchase a replacement filter from a local hardware or home improvement store. You can determine the correct size replacement filter by comparing it to the old one's measurements. [6]

    • Cardboard-framed fiberglass furnace filters are the most inexpensive disposable option. This type of filter is meant to be changed every few months as it catches large dust particles. For a moderate price increase, you can purchase a disposable pleated filter that will effectively filter out even the tiniest dust, pollen, and dirt particles. From four months to a full year, these filters are built to last.

    A highly efficient particle air (HEPA) filter is a good idea if you or a family member suffers from allergies. Mold, mildew, fungi, yeast, and algae are no match for these filters' antimicrobial properties. You can buy them once and use them again and again.

  3. 3

    There should be an arrow on the filter indicating the correct orientation. On your new filter, you'll find an arrow indicating the direction of airflow. If you look for the arrow, you'll know which way to insert the filter into the furnace.

    • Filters for residential furnaces are designed to work in a unidirectional airflow, keeping them from collapsing under the weight of the dust and debris they collect.
  4. 4

    Put the filter where it belongs and replace the cap. Place the new filter into the furnace with the arrow pointing toward the blower motor. If you used a filter cover to access the filter, replace it now. [7]

    • If the filter is installed upside down, airflow is restricted, causing the furnace to overheat and shut off. This can also be brought on by a dirty filter, so be sure to check it once a month and swap it out whenever it gets too grimy to function properly.
  5. 5

    Turn off the furnace and replace the door panel. After closing the furnace's access door, if you removed it, slide it back on. After this, you can safely use your heating system for at least another month. [8]

    • Keep in mind that you'll need to change the filter more frequently if you have furry pets or if you frequently use the heating system. The filter should be checked once a month, or more frequently if you notice increased dust levels in your home.
  6. 6

    If you've turned off your heater, please turn it back on. After switching out the filter, remember to turn the thermostat back to "on" for the heater. The filter will keep the furnace free of dust and other particles, so it can function normally.

    • If you want to remember to check the filter again in a month, you could write down the date you last changed it.

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Multiple wikiHow authors worked on this post. In order to ensure that the articles we publish are both accurate and comprehensive, our staff of editors and researchers undergoes extensive training. Each article is checked by the Content Management Team to make sure it is supported by reliable sources and up to wikiHow's high quality standards. There have been 25,102 views of this article.

Co-authors: 3

Updated: When: October12, 2022

Views:  25,102

Categories: Cleaning

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