DIY Guide: How to Change Air Filter for Winter

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How to Change Air Filter Compare

It should come as no surprise that your heating system needs regular maintenance before kicking into overdrive for the winter. Amongst other furnace and heating & air conditioning maintenance routines, changing out the air filter is one of the easiest and more effective ways to improve air quality in your home and extend the lifespan of your heating system.

You may be asking yourself, “Why is changing my air filter so important?” Well, we’re here to explain why changing your air filter can benefit your home and pocketbook, and how to change your air filter when the time comes.


How to Change Air Filter for Winter

How to change air filter


Changing your air filter is surprisingly simple. We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process so that nothing is left to question. 

1. Buy the Right Sized Air Filter

Finding the correct size of your air filter is as easy as reading the side of the existing filter. After locating the old air filter by opening your heating & air conditioning unit or furnace and removing the grill or cover that houses the filter, check the cardboard sides on the outside of the air filter. You should see numbers and dimensions on that filter. Make a quick note of these specs and make a trip to your local hardware store, or order that specific sized air filter online. 


2. Turn Off Your Unit

Once you have acquired the right size of air filter, it’s time to install it in your heating & air conditioning unit. First things first, turn off your heating unit. You can do this by way of the thermostat or shutting off that switch in your circuit breaker. Just make sure that the system won’t turn on while you’re replacing the air filter. 


3. Locate the Heating & Air Conditioning Filter

Every heating & air conditioning system or furnace is different, but the majority aren’t difficult to navigate. Your air filter will likely be located in a limited amount of places. Either the air handler is in the attic, basement, a hallway utility close, or in a return duct.


4. Remove the Grill Covering Your Air Filter

Once you see the main unit you’ll want to remove the grille or covering that holds your air filter in place. If your heating system is located in the air handler then you’ll see an access panel, which you’ll likely need a screwdriver to remove the panel so you can get to your air filter. If your filter is located in a return duct, you should see some latches that are holding the grille in place. Turn those latches upward and remove the grille to access your air filter. 


5. Remove the Old Air Filter and Replace It

Before removing your existing air filter, take note of how it is situated so you can install the new air filter in the same way. Most air filters will have arrows that indicate which side goes in first. Now, remove your old air filter and replace it with a clean air filter making sure the airflow arrows are pointed towards the interior of the heating & air conditioning unit.  

6. Replace the Grille or Cover and Turn Heating & Air Conditioning System On

Now that you have your new air filter in place, you can replace the grille or cover (making sure it’s securely in place). Then head over to your thermostat or the breaker box and turn your heating system on, now you’re ready to rock! 

We hope this information will help you this winter. Stay on top of home maintenance routines ahead of colder weather. And if you need help, you can always schedule a winter furnace tune-up and inspection that will ensure your home’s heating system is running strong through the frigid winter months.

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Serving the entire Twin Cities metro area, Service Today is a trusted source for emergency furnace repairs and heating & air conditioning maintenance services. We also offer emergency plumbing, conduct boiler maintenance, and whole-home rewiring at affordable prices. Receive regular maintenance as a member of our SHAPE Membership program and call (888) 409-9784 to schedule your heater tune-up appointment today!