Don’t forget your furnace filter

Replacing furnace filters regularly is important for HVAC maintenance

Your furnace filter is an essential, yet often-overlooked, piece of your HVAC system. Either through forgetfulness or the desire to save money, many people don’t change their filters as often as they should. But replacing your furnace filters on a regular basis is an important part of your overall HVAC maintenance, extending the life of your system, improving your air quality and saving you money in the long run.

To understand why a furnace filter is important, let’s take a quick look at how a furnace works. In the simplest terms, a furnace draws air in from the house through return ducts, heats it and pushes the warm air out through ducts throughout your home. The air filter stops all of the hair, dust and other debris that is sucked in through the return ducts from reaching your furnace unit. This has obvious benefits.

First, the debris does not enter the furnace, which could affect its operation, damage the appliance and result in costly repair or replacement. This is important if you’re trying to push the time between filter changes or buying low quality filters to save money – it will only end up costing you more in the long run.

Second, the debris collected in the furnace filter does not make its way back out to your ducts to be distributed throughout your house with the heated air, which improves your overall indoor air quality. This can help reduce the effects of allergies and asthma.

So how often should you change your furnace filter? There isn’t a black and white rule, as it depends on many variables, including the type of furnace you have, the type of filters you buy and how many people live in the house. Having pets and having people who smoke or have allergies will also affect how often you change your filter. A good rule of thumb is to change your furnace filter every 60 – 90 days. Check it after 60 days – if it looks dirty change it.

Changing your furnace filter is one of the easiest things you can do around your house. Refer to your furnace’s manual for exact instructions for your model, but for the most part it’s a simple as sliding the old one out and sliding the new one in. So do your whole HVAC system a favour and change it on a regular basis.