How to change your own Furnace filters

As I stepped outside this morning to hang the mop out to dry I felt Fall.  This is the first day in months when the temperature has been in the single digits.  Celsius people, Celsius; I’m a Canadian after all.  I made my way down to the basement to turn off the blower on the furnace.  We have a forced air heating system which you can put on reverse to blow cool air from the basement upstairs into the rest of the house.  Since I was near the furnace I decided to change the filters while I was at it.  Now it’s your daily project too.

furnace filters

furnace filters

Here’s what you’ll need for your first time changing the filters, after that it’s easy peasy. 

-Permanent marker, piece of paper, pen or pencil, tape and an afternoon to go to the hardware store to buy filters.

Here’s what you’ll do.

-Find your filter hatch and open it.  I had the furnace maintenance dude show me this when he came to do the yearly maintenance on the furnace but the instruction manual or simply turning the furnace off at the fuse box and poking around it yourself will work too.

-Remove the filters (mine has 2) and write the size of them on the side of the furnace with the permanent marker.  Go to the hardware store and buy a bunch of the cheapest ones they have.  The HVAC guy told me that the cheap ones are exactly the same as the more expensive ones and although he’d be happy to charge me the $60 or whatever per hour that he charges to change them himself every 3 months, I should really just do it myself.

-Buy a bunch of cheap filters so you don’t have to keep going to the store every 3 months.  Or 6 months is what I discovered with our furnace and house size.  Tape the piece of paper to the wall and make 2 columns:  “Date serviced by HVAC dude/dudette” and “Date filters changed”.  Leave the pen or pencil nearby so you can fill in the columns without having to run around for a writing implement, then forget to fill it in altogether and panic because the filters haven’t been changed and this costs you extra money because your furnace/cold air blower is now less efficient.  Also, a clogged filter is a bit of a fire hazard.


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