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How Do I Clean a Furnace Filter?

If you have a disposable furnace filter, it will need to be replaced rather than cleaned.

Steps for a Careful Clean

Cleaning your reusable furnace filters isn’t as daunting as it may seem. All it takes is some time, focus, and the following steps:

  • Turn off your furnace: It’s safest to switch off your furnace before cleaning your filters to prevent any harm to yourself or the system. Your furnace switch is likely located on the unit or on a wall nearby.

  • Locate the filter: You’ll probably find your filter on the inside of the furnace or inside the air vent. It should have an arrow on it to indicate the direction of airflow.

  • Mark the direction of airflow: Before removing your filter, draw an arrow in the direction of airflow near your furnace so you know which direction the filter was facing when you’re ready to put it back.

  • Remove the filter: Gently grab the filter with your fingers and slide it out.

  • Rinse the filter: Place your filter under running water until the dust and debris is washed away. Turn the filter and repeat.

  • Let the filter air dry: Once you’ve cleaned your filter, place it down to air dry. Drying times can vary depending on your home’s temperature, but you’ll want to be sure it’s completely dry before reinserting it.

  • Reinsert the filter: This is an easy step: simply slide your filter back into the space you removed it from.

  • Turn your furnace on: Once you’ve cleaned and reinserted your furnace filter, it’s safe to turn your furnace back on.

Taking care of your furnace filters is a simple process and will keep the air you breathe fresh and clean.

How Often Should I Clean My Furnace Filter?

How frequently you clean your furnace filter will depend on the filter type. Electrostatic filters don’t need to be replaced, but they should be cleaned every three months. On the other hand, electronic filters should be cleaned once a month. Mechanical filters are not reusable — you’ll need to replace those once a month.

It’s smart to keep track of when you clean your furnace filters so that you clean them on a consistent basis and keep your indoor air healthy.

Time for a Change

Your furnace filter can only be cleaned so many times before it needs to be replaced. If you remove your filter and notice it has tears, it’s time for a change. A good rule of thumb is to change your filter every three months to keep your air as clean as possible!

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