When it comes to maintaining a furnace, one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is neglecting the filter.

It’s easy to forget about the filter, as it’s tucked inside the furnace, which is usually out of sight in the basement. Do that at your own peril. A dirty filter undermines your furnace efficiency and wastes energy dollars. Put a note on your fridge and remember to check the filter every month and change it as needed. It’s easy.

  • Pull the filter out of your furnace, and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see through it, replace it. Check the filter every month during the heating season. Most filters need to be changed every three months. High-performance filters can last longer.
  • If you need to replace your filter, pay attention to the minimum efficiency reporting value, and if your filter is rated one to four, consider one with a higher rating. While a filter at the low end will capture pollen, dust mites, spray paint dust and carpet fibers, a MERV five to eight filter will also remove mold spores, hair spray, fabric protector and cement dust. Families with members who have respiratory issues often opt for MERV nine to 12 ratings, which can capture much finer particulates such as humidifier dust, lead dust, auto emissions and milled flower.
  • Install the filter correctly. The arrow on the side of the filter should point toward the blower motor.

If you have a filter that needs to be cleaned instead of changed, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You may also have an air cleaner. A HEPA filter in an air cleaner needs to be changed only every one to two years. If you have an electronic air cleaner, wash the collector plates periodically.

The heating season is well under way in Cincinnati – so get into the routine of checking your furnace filter and changing it as needed. Apollo Home Heating, Cooling & Plumbing has been serving homeowners here since 1910. At the Apollo Home website, you can sign up for an e-minder filter service where you can get an email about when to change your filter. We can help you keep your heating system running smoothly all winter long, and when another hot and muggy summer looms in southern Ohio, we can keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape, too.

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