If you want to get the most you can out of your furnace as far as lifespan and efficiency are concerned, you definitely need to change your furnace filter on a regular basis. There are no exact guidelines for how often you should change your filter, but it is a good idea to do it at least once a year. This is especially true if you live in a climate where you depend on your air conditioning and heating throughout most months of the year. Some people don't realize that the furnace is actually part of the AC system and that therefore the HVAC system is working throughout much of the year. The best rule is to just visually inspect your filter every single year and replace it when necessary. This article explains how to tell whether your furnace filter needs to be replaced and how to do it properly.
Checking Your Filter
Most filters are very easy to access. In fact, you usually don't need any tools to open up the filter compartment. On some units the filter is actually located outside of the furnace cabinet. It will be in the slot on the ducts. You usually need to pull open a flap and then pull the filter out. If you don't see your filter outside of the furnace cabinet, you will need to open it up. To be safe, you should turn off your furnace before you open it up. First, turn the thermostat to the "off" position. Then, open up the furnace cabinet. At this point, you should see a gas control knob. Turn this to the office station. Finally, find the breaker switch for the furnace and turn it off. You can now safely open up and work on your filter.
Replacing Your Filter
Obviously, removing your filter and installing a new one is simple. The most important part of this task, besides making sure you have the right filter size, is cleaning out the filter compartment before you put in the new one. Since this compartment is so narrow, the best way to clean it is with a thin vacuum-hose attachment. You might also need a flashlight so you can actually see inside the dark compartment.
This is obviously a very easy job, but many people neglect to sufficiently clean their filter compartment before replacing their old filter. By thoroughly cleaning your filter compartment before installing your new product, you can be sure that it will fit perfectly.