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How to Choose and Replace the Filter in Your Furnace

Buying the correct furnace filter for your HVAC system is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy home. For those who are unsure, or just need a friendly reminder, it’s important to change this filter on average every three months. Now, this can change depending on the type of filter and other variables such as if you have pets or if anyone in your home suffers from allergies. Changing a filter is important, because it removes dirt, pollen, dust, pet dander, allergens, bacteria, and other air pollutants from your homes air. This in turn will enhance your home’s indoor air quality leaving you with a clean environment.

There are other factors to consider when choosing a filter for your furnace to guarantee healthy air in your home.

Factors to consider when choosing an hvac filter

  • Filter Thickness: This can range from 1″ to 5″. As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the filter the longer it will last and the more efficient it will be. However, you do not get to decide the thickness of your filter. Your system determines the thickness of the filter you are able to use.
  • Filter Efficiency: To determine the efficiency of your filter use MERV. It is the standard system accepted by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). This rating system allows consumers to compare and evaluate air filters for optimal effectiveness in removing airborne particles. Overall, the higher the MERV rating the greater efficiency the filter provides. A MERV 10 is the average for a normal household; however, if anyone suffers from allergies or asthma, or has pets, it’s best to aim for a MERV rating of 12 or higher.
  • Filter Size: On average filters are usually 16″ x 20″, 20″ x 25″, and 16″ x 25″. However, there can be many other sizes available. The size of your furnace filter is located on the side of your filter cabinet door. The filter must fit snug in your furnace. It should be an exact fit for your cabinet and not jus “close enough.” The perfect size filter prevents air from slipping around the edges.
  • Pleated vs. non-pleated: Generally, pleated filters last longer and are more efficient than fiberglass non-pleated filters. Pleated filers contain more surface area to trap pollutants/contaminants and are able to have smaller pores to catch particles while still allowing full air flow.

Replacing your furnace filter

We recommend that the average home replaces their furnace filter every 3 months. Depending on the type of filter this may vary. It’s a good idea to check monthly and if you see your filter is dirty, change it! Other signs you may need to change it are more dust in your home or longer cycles. Here are the major consequences of not changing your furnace filter. Some of these include: higher energy bills, furnace failures, poor temperature regulation, and health concerns.

how to replace your filter

Your filter is located between the furnace/air handler and the return air duct. The grill opening is your return duct and the filter will be nearby this area. If you still are unable to find the filter, you can check your furnace’s manufacturer website for specifics on your unit. You can also call us at 712-252-3007 and we would e happy to help!

We at CW Suter also perform this maintenance for you twice at year when you are signed up for our Comfort and Convenience Maintenance Plan. Learn about other benefits this plan provides here.