Home Improvements

How To Clean A Furnace Filter

Old or dirty furnace filters can cause various issues in a furnace and also affect the air quality inside your home or office. To avoid health issues or premature failure of your furnace, cleaning or replacing furnace filters is necessary. You can check with HVAC companies to know when you should clean or replace your furnace filters and let them help you decide on the best filter for your furnace.

Permanent Filter Or Disposable Filter

There are two main types of HVAC filters: permanent air filters and disposable filters. Permanent filters are also called washable filters and electrostatic filters – which are in fact a type of washable filters.

As their name suggests, you can’t clean a disposal filter and when it’s clogged with dust, you should replace the air filter. On the other hand, permanent filters are washable and you can use them for a long time without needing to replace them. However, you should periodically clean them.

You can differentiate between the two types by noticing the frame of the filter. The frame of disposable filters is made of plastic whereas the frame of reusable filters is metal-based.

Keep in mind that permanent filter cost higher compared to disposable filters and have lower air purification capacity than disposable filters.

Cleaning A Washable Furnace Filter

Turn Off The Furnace

You should remove the filter only when the furnace is off. Opening the furnace or removing the filter with a switched-on furnace is dangerous. So, find a handle or switch near the furnace to turn it off. If you can’t find the switch, consult the user manual.

Locate The Filter

Again, referring to the user manual can help you find the location of the filter.

  • In a horizontal furnace, you may find the filter on the intake side.
  • For vertical systems that have upward air movement, you should look for a door at the bottom of the furnace. You may have to open a panel or door to access the filter.
  • If you have a vertical furnace that has downward airflow, you may find multiple filters somewhere at the top of the furnace.

Mark The Airflow Direction Of The Filter

Air filters have an arrow of them indicating the direction of the airflow. You need to put the filter back correctly, so mark the position of the filter with a pen

Remove The Filter

After marking the position of the filter, proceed to remove it. Simply hold the filter and push it outward. Air filters are not fitted with screws so you can slide them out.

Check The Frame Of The Filter

If you don’t know whether your furnace filter is washable or disposable, check the frame. A metal frame indicates a washable filter while a plastic frame denotes a disposable filter.

Rinse The Filter With Water

Air filters don’t have grease stuck on them so you can clean them by running water through them. If required, you can also use a mild detergent to wash away dust and dirt from the filter. Make sure to clean both sides of the filter.

Air Dry The Filter

After cleaning the filter, leave the filter to dry without using any tools for drying. Don’t put a wet air filter into the furnace and make sure the filter is completely dry before you proceed to put it back into the heating unit.

Reinsert The Filter Into The Furnace

Now that the filters are clean, put them back into the furnace. Make sure you’re following the direction of the arrow you drew. Close the panel or door if there is any and turn on the furnace.

When Should You Clean Your Permanent Furnace Filter?

Once you’ve cleaned your filter or considering cleaning the filter, you may want to know how long should wait before cleaning the filter. The answer depends on the type of furnace air filter you have.

  • Electrostatic furnace filters can do for three months before needing cleaning.
  • Electronic filters are required to be cleaned every week.
  • Mechanical filters are disposable so you should replace them monthly.

Cleaning a furnace filter is easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. But if your furnace is showing problems, you should hire a furnace repair service Port Jefferson to inspect your unit and perform the required repairs.

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