How to install a new air filter in your heating or cooling system

by Team HomeServe |
How to Install an Air Filter

Keeping your heating and cooling system in good condition requires some simple, but important maintenance. A healthy HVAC system creates a better living environment for you and your family, and it’ll save you money in the long run. One of the quickest ways to help keep things running smooth is by changing out your air filter. If you’ve never changed an air filter before, or you aren’t quite sure about the process, read on for some handy tips.

Make your heating and cooling system more energy efficient

Dirty, clogged filters can cause reduced airflow, causing the furnace to work harder to heat or cool down your home. This is not only energy inefficient, but also wastes money.

Avoid problems by changing your dirty air filters

A dirty air filter can create a number of household problems that you could do without. Dust and dirt accumulates throughout your system, and your filter won’t remove allergens and mold from the air. This can lead to mold growth in and around your heating and cooling system.

In addition, poor air quality in the home is particularly harmful if you or anyone in your family suffers from asthma or allergies. If you have pets, the importance of changing your air filter regularly is even greater — pet fur and hair will clog the system more quickly and more allergens will be circulated through the house.

How clogged air filters can damage your system

If your HVAC system itself is coughing and spluttering and not functioning as smoothly as it once did, a dirty filter may be to blame. Dirty filters allow pollution and debris to infiltrate your HVAC system that a clean filter would normally keep out. Repeated exposure to dirt and debris in this way will shorten the lifespan of your system. By changing the filter regularly, your system will enjoy greater longevity.

Air handling will also be taxed by a clogged filter. Airflow will be reduced, making your system work harder to push air through the ducts. This will drive up the cost of running your heat or A/C, and increase wear-and-tear on the system.

How do I know if my air filter needs to be changed?

The rule of thumb is that you should change your filter at every three months. However, it’s easy to tell if your filter needs replacing. Simply remove it from the system and check to see if dirt, dust, and discoloration are present. If you happen to have a new filter in the house already, the best way of checking whether your old one should be replaced is to compare it to the new one. If the difference between the two is easily noticeable, then it’s time for a replacement.

How do I change the air filter?

Swapping out your air filter is relatively simple. But you need to know what steps to take before beginning.First, take the measurements of your old filter and head to your favorite home improvement store or website. Make sure you are buying the correct size and type of filter. If you are unsure, consult your manual or take a picture of the old one so you can match it up in the store.

There are various different types of air filters, which vary in quality, fit, number of gaskets, and materials. An air filter with gaskets won’t be as leaky and the system will operate more efficiently. As you would expect, the better the air filter, the more energy efficient it will be and the more money you will save in the long run.

Once you have found the right air filter for you and your system, turn off the heating. If you are unsure of how to do this, you can also turn it off the breaker.

Next, locate and remove the filter cover and pull out the old filter. Then, insert the new filter. There should be arrows or colors on the front and back of the filter to guide you on which direction the filter should be aligned.

When you’re done, close everything back up and switch the system back on. Be sure to check that everything is running smoothly.

It’s a relatively simple process that will result in a more energy-efficient, clean environment for your family to live in. Ultimately, if you are unsure about which filter to buy or have qualms about your ability to fit a new one, the best thing to do is to call a professional.

If you do realize that you need a professional’s advice, visit to see how you can find an affordable home repair plan.