If you live in a Hilton Head home with furnace heat that you use regularly, or are getting set to use your heater throughout the winter, then one of your major home maintenance priorities is to make sure that your heater’s filters are changed regularly. There is no reason to worry however; changing your furnace air filter is a quick and simple task that you can perform by yourself.
The general recommendation made by manufacturers is that you change furnace filters on a monthly basis. Your furnace manual should specify the recommended filter maintenance schedule if you are unsure of the frequency of recommended filter changes for your heater’s model. When you are sure that it is time to change your filter, your next step is to read your instruction manual to make sure that you are following the proper sequence of actions to change the filter on your particular model. To help you, I have listed a general outline of the normal steps taken to change a furnace filter.
1. Using the electric switch supplied on your furnace, you need to disconnect the power before you perform any furnace maintenance, including filter changes. If your heater is gas powered and not electric, you should also shut down your gas line connection.
2. Again referring to your specific model’s manual, you need to locate and open the furnace blower door. Your reference manual should describe where it is and how to open the door on your furnace model.
3. Once the blower door is open, your furnace filter should be clearly visible. Simply slide out the filter to replace it with the new one. If you run into any problems or it seems to remove only with great difficulty, then I recommend you refer to your heater model’s manual or consult with your Hilton Head heating and air conditioning contractor.
4. When you remove the furnace air filter, it should be easy to see if it does indeed need to be replaced. The purpose of a filter is to remove dirt and other particles from the air that flows through the heater system of your Hilton Head home. If the filter is coated black, it is time to go. The condition of your filter should be obvious through simple visual inspection.
5. Your filter is not the only place where dirt collects however, especially if your filter is extremely clogged. Be sure to check for other accumulation in the blower itself, and in the venting system immediately surrounding your heater unit. Any obstruction of the furnace airway can cause not only inefficiency, but is also a major fire hazard.
6. After determining that the filter does need to be changed, and that no other obstructions exist, simply refer to your owner’s manual, or to the description given on the old filter, so that you can get another filter from your Hilton Head hardware store. Filters DO NOT usually interchange between models, so it is very important that you buy the correct one. If you have a washable furnace filter, remove it and wash all the dust out and replace the same way you removed it.
7. After purchase, simply replace the new filter into your furnace system in the exact same way that the old one came out. This is very important, as the filtration is unidirectional, meaning that the filter must be inserted so that the airflow is directed through it in the proper direction. Do not put your filter in backwards. Most filters are fiberglass, with one side that is slightly oily. This side usually faces the blower, and the other side collects the filtered material for disposal. If the texture (and of course your manual’s description) does not give you an indication of the correct installation direction, then you might simple look at the filter itself. Most models will have printed arrows on them to show you which direction you should insert your filter.
8. When you are done, make sure that the blower door is securely closed, your power and gas connections are reactivated, and your thermostat is set at the appropriate temperature.
In order to protect your furnace and the air quality in your Hilton Head home, it is important to change your furnace air filter regularly. Neglecting to change your furnace air filter on a regular basis will cost you money in the long run.