How to Change My Furnace Filter: The Complete Guide

How to Change My Furnace Filter: The Complete Guide

You just bought your first home, it was built in 1955, the outside temperature drops to 34 and your furnace kicks on for the first time all season. You grab a blanket snuggle up on your couch to binge watching Suits on Netflix when you begin to have a sneezing fit. Is it nose hair, or all the dirty dust in your air?

Well, brace yourself because that humble hero known as your furnace filter is probably dirty, clogged and full of last year's dust, dander, pollen and microbes. Ya know, all the other nasty stuff that floats around your home.

This is the point where your filter can start to work against you, allowing all that dust to float into your home's air through your HVAC system, affecting your air quality.

With this simple guide to changing your home's air filter, we'll answer some of the most common HVAC system questions so you can take a deep breath of victory and get back to watching Suits, but this time with less sneezing.

Jump to Section:
What is a Furnace Filter?
What is a MERV Rating?
Benefits of a Furnace Filter
When Should I Change My Furnace Filter?
How To Change a Furnace Filter
What Is the Best Air Filter for My Home?
Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Furnace Filter?

Picture this: You're in general admission at a John Mayer concert, the concert venue is your HVAC system, you want to get backstage but realize you have to get by the security guard - your furnace filter. The security guard is the one deciding which "fans'' aka particles of dust, pollen, and dander are cool enough to pass through and which ones aren’t making the cut.

It's the clean hero protecting your thermal comfort and holding the fort against those pesky airborne stage crashers.

Let's face it, this Defender of Air Ducts doesn't just sit there looking all pretty by your furnace. Oh no, it's doing the heavy lifting, maintaining the airflow and trapping all the bits that could otherwise make you sneeze, wheeze or just plain annoy you by settling on every surface like an unwelcome dust blanket. It's a tireless warrior in the fight against indoor air pollution.

What Is a MERV Rating?

Now don't get us started on the variety side act that is the MERV Rating - Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV, not to be confused with some dude named Mervin, is the rating system that measures how fine of a net this filter weaves.

Essentially, the higher the MERV Rating, the tinier the particulates it traps; we're talking about capturing everything from dog hair to the ragtag bunch of allergens that just love to tango with your sinuses:

  • Dust: A solo act that gets everywhere, the Taylor Swift of irritants.
  • Pollen: That seasonal frenemy that turns noses into fountains.
  • Mold: Silent, sneaky, prefers damp audition rooms like your basement or bathroom.

And why does changing out your furnace filter matter, you ask? Well, if you'd let neglect kick in and your trusty filter gets clogged, we're not just talking about reduced air quality. Oh no, we're talking about your furnace working overtime like an unpaid intern, which means energy usage skyrockets, and shockingly so does your bill! This is not the kind of 'going green' we're looking for.

What Are the Benefits of a Furnace Filter?

Swapping out your furnace filter is like giving your home a brand new pair of lungs. It ensures your air is as clean as a new penny, reducing the amount of allergens doing acrobatics in your HVAC airways.

Protecting Your HVAC System

Like a trusty steed, a fresh filter vigilantly protects your HVAC system from the wear and tear of dirt and debris. It's like Shrek slaying dragons in the form of dust and pollen particles so your air conditioning or heater doesn't wheeze like a medieval wind instrument.

Cost Savings in Your Homes Energy Bill

Let's talk about energy, the green kind that keeps both Mother Earth and your wallet plump and happy. A happy clean filter means optimized airflow, which translates to your furnace not sweating it out to keep you cool or toasty - depending on the time of year. It's practically like yoga for appliances; efficiency is the mantra.

Upgrading your home's air filter is like swapping out those old Converse sneakers for a snazzy pair of all white New Balance performance shoes all the dads eventually purchase. Your system runs smoother, faster, better. Plus, you'll bask in the glory of cleaner air without the invasion of odoriferous particles crashing on your couch like your lazy cousin who's "working on it".

  1. Filtration? Check! No more breathing gym socks (a.k.a. what's that weird musty smell?).
  2. Energy Savings? You bet! A filter that doesn’t struggle means more Johhny Cash for weekend shenanigans.
  3. Extended System Lifespan? Like finding the fountain of youth for your furnace.
  4. Thermal Comfort spa? Absolutely. Say goodbye to indoor climates more fickle than your Aunt Lisa’s mood swings.

Changing your furnace filter is like the ultimate performance hack for home coziness and it's cheaper than hiring a live-in housekeeper to follow you with a Swiffer Heavy Duty Duster.

When Should I Change My Furnace Filter?

Okay, pop quiz time! You reside in the Kingdom of Dustville, aka Arizona... Maybe Texas? Where the tumbleweeds are literal dust bunnies, and you've got a fur factory powered by your lovable, shed-happy pets - two or three dogs that could double as fluffy pillows and a cat plotting world domination.

Add on the fact that your nostrils are on high alert year-round because, hey, Mother Nature decided you needed extra-strong allergies.

So, when do you change your furnace filter and show it who's boss? We are here to break this down for you and provide a proper unbiased recommendation.

I Live in a Dusty Environment

If your home is in the Wild West of dust, where tumbleweeds roll over the floor and a "clean room" is just where you shove stuff away when guests come over, you'll want to swap out that furnace filter quicker than a jackrabbit on a hot date. We're talking every 1-3 months. Believe me, in Dustville, USA your filter's got a shorter shelf life than our New Year's Fitness resolution.

Pulling a dust-caked filter from your furnace in a place where particles frolic in merry abandon is like unmasking the villain at the end of a Scooby-Doo episode. "I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling air filter!".

Remember, in dustier parts of the United States, that filter needs to be changed more often than your socks. Which for some people, that could be every year at Christmas. If you live in this type of environment, you should be changing your furnace and/or AC filter on a more regular basis.

I Have Two Dogs and a Cat

Your dynamic trio of pets is like a fur-stuffed confetti cannon, launching dander into the stratosphere of your home. A standard furnace filter in this lively pet safari might just wave the white flag faster than you can say "achoo!"

So you'll need to channel your inner Pet Whisperer more often, replacing that filter every 3-4 months like you're playing a high stakes game in Vegas of whack-a-mole... but with allergens.

Sticking on this type of filter rotation is not only great for your HVAC system, your family and furry friends will also enjoy the cleaner air, ultimately protecting every living creature in your home.

I Have Bad Year Round Allergies

Let's say you were blessed with allergies that never seem to go away, no matter what time of year it is. Every sniffle and sneeze is a stark reminder that your furnace filter needs to be on point, like a barista's foam art on your morning latte.

You'll be swapping that bad boy out more frequently, maybe every 1-2 months, more often than you change TV channels, aiming to keep those allergen groupies off your personal stage.

If your sinuses change with the seasons, you should treat your furnace filter like a seasonal wardrobe; out with the old, in with the new and change your home's air filter every 3 months.

If you never want to worry about your frequency, you should select your filter type - based on your lifestyle and subscribe to the best furnace filter subscription service. They will now arrive at your doorstep never having to think about changing your furnace filter again.

How Do You Change a Furnace Filter: 5 Easy Steps

Listen up, DIY enthusiasts! We’re about to spill the tea on changing that often-neglected appliance accessory - Your homes furnace filter:

Step 1: Turn off the Furnace:

Safety first! Make sure to turn off the furnace to prevent any airflow while you're changing the filter. This can typically be done either at the thermostat or directly at the furnace's power switch.

Step 2: Locate the Filter Compartment:

Find the filter compartment, which is usually located in the furnace itself or in the air return duct. The compartment will typically have a cover or door that can be easily opened or removed.

Step 3: Remove the Old Filter:

Slide out the old filter. Pay attention to the arrows on the filter, which indicate the air flow direction. This will be important for installing the new filter correctly.

Step 4: Insert the New Filter:

Take your new filter and insert it in the same slot the old one came from. Ensure the arrows on the filter are pointing in the correct direction (towards the furnace). The arrows should align with the airflow direction.

Step 5: Turn Your Furnace Back On:

Once the new filter is securely in place, close the compartment and turn the furnace back on. It's a good practice to check the system briefly to ensure everything is running smoothly.

[Pro Tip:]

A filter with a MERV rating that's too high for your furnace can restrict airflow and strain your system, leading to potential damage or inefficiency. It's essential to choose a filter with a MERV rating that is high enough for good air quality but still compatible with your furnace's specifications. See "Why don't Yoor Air filters have a MERV Rating'' FAQ

What Is the Best Air Filter for My Home?

Finding the right filter for your home can often seem like dating and trying the find the “perfect one” can be tough but we are here to help so you don’t have to sift through bad cardboard pleated filters. 

Learn more about the Yoor Air Difference - we break down why our filters are truly better than our competitors and why our depth loading material is superior to traditional pleated or cheap filters you often find at your local hardware store.

Fasten your seat belts, by the time we are done, you should have a better understanding of which Yoor Air filter is best for you and your home. Selecting the right filter for your lifestyle is half the battle, the other half gets taken care of once we deliver it to your doorstep. That is the part where you finally get to enjoy less dust in your home and on your surfaces and begin to breathe clean air once and for all!

The Protector: 2-Ply Dust and Microbes

Our 2-Ply Antimicrobial Filter is tougher than those cardboard-framed filters that hold moisture. The Protector is built with a proprietary antimicrobial filter media making it impenetrable to mold and microbial growth. Trust us, pleats are a bad idea on pants and even worse on filters. >> Shop The Protector

The Pet Whisperer: 3-Ply Pet Dander and Hair

The Pet Whisperer has 3 protective layers of synthetic filter media to keep you, your family, and most importantly your pets safe from mold, microbes, and mildew. Want a furnace filter that traps all the crap? This one is super popular amongst those in the fight for clean floors, rid of pet hair and dust bunnies. >> Shop The Pet Whisperer

The Clean Freak: Carbon Activated for Odors and Smoke

Take out the stink and annihilate odors! Our patented inner layer of carbon media is designed to remove particulates and absorb airborne pollutants. This one's for you Clean Freak (you know who you are)! >> Shop The Clean Freak

Stay Proactive for a Healthier Home

Regularly changing your furnace filter is a game-changer for maintaining a dust-free, allergen-light, and odor-controlled home environment.

Your furnace filter acts as a home’s gatekeeper, sifting out particulates and ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your HVAC system.

With the right filter—be it 'The Protector,' 'The Pet Whisperer,' or 'The Clean Freak'—you can tailor your indoor air quality to your specific needs.

Don't let neglect ramp up your energy bills; stay proactive, change your filter regularly, and breathe easy knowing you’ve made a savvy, health-conscious, and fiscally responsible move for your home.

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