How to Change a Furnace Filter

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  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-10
What You'll Need
New furnace filter
Dust mask
Hand vacuum

It is important to change your furnace filter every 6 months to a year. After several months of running often, the furnace filter will become caked with dirt. When the furnace filter is filled with dirt and debris, it will no longer do its job, costing you money due to a lack of effectiveness. The furnace filter helps to keep the air clean and your heating and cooling system running flawlessly. Follow the easy steps below to change your furnace filter.

Locate the Furnace Filter

If you need to replace the furnace filter, you first need to locate it. The location of the furnace filter is determined by the type of furnace you use in your home. If it is part of a forced-air system, you will find the filter in the air return. If your furnace is either electric or gas, the furnace filter will be inside the unit.

Remove the Furnace Filter

The filter that is inside the furnace can come in several similar styles. It might be made out of a material that resembles fiberglass insulation that is encased in a thick paper. Another type might be made out of durable plastic and mesh material.

No matter the type, remove the furnace filter by grasping the front of it. Be gentle when pulling it out of the furnace so as to not damage it. Some furnace filters may be attached with several screws which you will have to remove before you can take out the filter.

Cleaning a Furnace Filter

If the filter is made of durable plastic with a mesh filter or foam, you can remove the debris by hand. It will resemble lint from a dryer on a screen. If you have a foam sheet furnace filter, you can beat it to remove loose dust and then wash it.

Once the filter is dry, you can replace it in the frame and put it back into the furnace.

Replacing the Furnace Filter

If you have a disposable furnace filter or a damaged piece, you can simply throw it out as normal. Use a small vacuum to remove any dust and debris that may be in the furnace where the filter was located.

Slide the new furnace filter into place and replace any screws that you have removed.