Why the Furnace Filter Needs to be Changed

Many seniors living alone may not realize that one of the most important ongoing maintenance items in their homes is also one of the easiest and cheapest to manage.

furnace filter change
Just changing the furnace filter regularly can make living at home easier…and cheaper.

Is it ‘out of sight, out of mind’, or is just that someone else has often taken control of the task of managing the filter-change ritual?

In every home, air is sucked into the furnace via the return air ducts in the house. Before entering the furnace to be heated, it passes through the filter for a cleaning – where dust particles are removed, keeping the furnace operating at peak efficiency.

Here’s why the filter needs to be changed on a regular basis (monthly or bi-monthly is a good schedule to get into):

  1. Without a clean filter, the furnace struggles for airflow, causing the blower to potentially overheat (certainly overwork), and eventually shut down.
  2. If you have central air conditioning, something as simple as a dirty filter can wreak havoc on both the central air system and the furnace: by restricting airflow through to the furnace, the air conditioner backs-up, and the coils freeze. You end up with a warm (instead of cool) house, and a ruined air conditioner.
  3. A filter that’s failed somehow might even let dust particles into the furnace – accumulating over time in the blower and heat sensing mechanics – threatening a breakdown.

Now that you know all you need to know about ‘why furnace filters need to be changed’, here’s how to make sure that you always have a supply of fresh filters on hand:

  1. Go into your basement, and find where your filter is located in your furnace (you may need a measuring tape and a notepad and pen, if you have an old furnace, and you suspect that the filter hasn’t been changed in a while)
  2. Partially remove it for just a moment – until you can get the dimensions of the filter. Many disposable-type filters (encased in cardboard), have the dimensions printed on the outside of the filter frame – make a note of those dimensions – you’ll need to buy a replacement that’s the same size. It’ll be in 3 dimensions: eg: 25″x 18″x1″
  3. The next time you’re out, stop into Home Depot, Rona, Lowes, Canadian Tire, or any hardware store, and go to the furnace filters aisle! Because there are so many different filter sizes, and the buy-frequency is necessarily high, every store dedicates a pretty large section to just filters.
  4. Find the filters that are your dimensions: double check the size on the package, and buy a few month’s worth of refills (3-4 refills is a good way to make sure you never run out).
  5. Bring them home, remove the old filter and toss it out, and replace it with the new filter, making sure that you align the arrow on the filter in the direction of the airflow (ie ‘into’ the furnace).
  6. Post a little note on the side of the furnace, indicating the date of the new installation, and put a reminder-to-change in your calendar.

Not sure how this affects your particular furnace? Youtube has a repository of hundreds of videos that’ll answer your specific furnace-filter question.

At Clover, we know that it is easier and cheaper to live in a home that’s well maintained. Click here to find out how we can help you make life at home, easier.

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