Runny nose? Itchy throat? Watery eyes? If you suffer from fall allergies, you likely are in search of any relief possible. While you can’t control what allergens you’re exposed to outside your home, you do have some control over what’s in the air you’re breathing inside your home. Many homeowners may not realize that the easiest and cheapest way to improve their home’s indoor air quality is to routinely replace the air filter, which is often found with the furnace. Another misconception? “I’m not using my furnace yet this season, so I don’t need to worry about changing the air filter.” Wrong! Furnaces and ACs often use the same blower, ductwork, and filter.
How are my allergies affected by how clean/dirty my air filter may be?
All conditioned air inside your home must pass through the filter if you’re using your heating or cooling system. This means that if the filter is dirty and full of pollutants – pet hair, pollen, mold spores, etc., air passing through it picks up on the debris and pushes it through the ducts and vents in your home. This polluted air could worsen your fall allergies, or cause a variety of other health problems, such as asthma attacks in individuals with pre-existing respiratory problems.
When your air filter is clean, your family is breathing cleaner, healthier air, so it’s important to be sure you’re keeping up with replacement for the filter when necessary.
How important is furnace maintenance when it comes to preventing my fall allergies?
Along with keeping up with a replacement schedule for your air filter, be sure that you’re scheduling annual maintenance appointments for your heating and cooling systems. Even if your filter is clean, if your home’s air is moving through a dusty, dirty furnace or air conditioner, this air is going to make its way into your living space and cause problems.
What size air filter do I need for my furnace?
This will depend on what type of furnace you have. If you aren’t sure what size filter you need, check the owner’s manual that came with the unit. If you don’t have access to the manual, you can also search online using the furnace brand and model to find more information about what filter will work best. Don’t forget – a dirty air filter isn’t just bad for your health, but it can also cause your heating and cooling systems to work harder than necessary to move air through your home.
How to change your furnace filter
- First things first – turn off all power to your furnace. While there isn’t a significant risk that you could get shocked, always play it safe when it comes to appliances that run on electricity.
- Locate your furnace filter and carefully remove it so that dirt, dust, and debris don’t scatter all over the floor. If you have trouble locating your filter, check your furnace’s owner’s manual for more information.
- Throw the old filter into the trash or contain it inside a trash bag so that the pollutants it contains don’t affect your home’s indoor air quality by scattering throughout the area.
- Put the new filter in place and make sure that the arrows on the filter are pointed in the correct direction. The arrows indicate airflow. If you install the filter backwards, it isn’t going to do as great of a job at catching pollutants in the air.
- Once your filter is securely in place, switch the electricity to your unit back on.
- Make note of the date when you changed your filter and check your owner’s manual to see how often you should be replacing it.
Want help with furnace maintenance?
Schedule a maintenance appointment to have a skilled and experienced heating technician examine all working parts of your furnace, including the blower motor, pilot light (if it’s a natural gas-powered unit), filter, heat exchanger cells, thermocouple, and so on to be sure everything’s working like it should.
At Oncourse Home Solutions, we offer an affordable Heating Maintenance Plan, which includes an annual tune-up appointment with one of our pre-qualified experts. Want to learn more? Visit us online or give us a call.