How to prepare your furnace for the winter

This infographic will show you a few steps that you can take before winter to avoid expensive furnace repair costs:


Problems you can avoid by doing this:

Decreased furnace efficiency

With covered vents, a dirty filter and obstructed outside vents, your furnace efficiency can decrease. These things can make your furnace work harder than it has to to keep up with heating demands. This means more expensive bills, incorrect zoning (some rooms hotter/colder than others) and can also cause your furnace to overheat.

Overheating furnace

If the air flow to your furnace is restricted by a dirty filter or cold air return vents being blocked, your furnace can overheat. This can lead to cracks in the heat exchanger which often means you need a new furnace. A cracked heat exchanger can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) leaks into your home, which can be deadly. This can also mean your furnace will not run long enough and won’t keep your house warm.

Fire hazards

If you have highly flammable clutter around your furnace, such as furniture, wood or paper, the burners in your furnace can cause a fire.

You’d be surprised by how many furnace problems can be prevented by the homeowner. A little bit of preparation and preventative maintenance can go a long way.

All you have to do is change your filter, make sure your vents inside and outside aren’t covered, check your thermostat batteries and clear out your furnace area and you can save yourself a heap of money and make your home more comfortable.

Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?

How to clean an electronic air filter

Electronic air filters are a nice convenience to have because they are reusable and more efficient. It is still important to make sure you are cleaning them every few months. Still, it’s super easy and this process only takes about an hour including the drying time.

If you have a normal furnace filter, here’s a guide to changing it.

Here are two ways to clean your electronic air filter:

First, turn off the electronic air filter by the switch on the top of it. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes to let any residual energy discharge from it. Be very careful with the filter to avoid cutting yourself or damaging the ionizing wires.

It is also important to check the owner’s manual on how to care for it.

1. Using your Tub:

  1. Fill your bath tub with hot water.

  2. Pour 1/2 cup of mild dish soap into the tub.

  3. Fully submerge the electronic air filter in the water.

  4. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.

  5. Remove from water and gently wipe grime off of the cells.

  6. Let it air dry for 45 minutes to an hour.

  7. Re-insert the electronic air filter back into your furnace.

2. Using a garden hose:

You can use a cleaner like Simple Green or mild dish soap.

Simple Green (or similar cleaner):

  1. Spray the cleaner on the filter.

  2. Let sit for 15 minutes to raise the dust/grime.

  3. Spray the filter with low pressure water (high pressure can damage the cells).

  4. Let it air dry for 45 minutes to an hour.

  5. Re-insert the electronic air filter back into your furnace.

Dish soap:

  1. It is important to use mild dish soap to avoid damaging the cells.

  2. Spray the filter with low pressure water.

  3. Apply the dish soap to the filter using a soft wet rag.

  4. Spray the filter again with low pressure water, rinsing all of the dish soap off of the filter.

  5. Let it air dry for 45 minutes to an hour.

  6. Re-insert the electronic air filter back into your furnace.

How to change your furnace filter

Changing your furnace filter regularly is one of the simplest ways to increase both your home furnace efficiency and air quality. The process is actually quick and easy, but there are also some important rules to follow. Check out some of our tips for a safe and trouble-free replacement below:

1. Turn your furnace off.

  • Look for a switch connecting to your furnace and switch it to the ‘Off’ position to ensure that the furnace won’t turn on during the filter replacement

    • If your furnace kicks on while there’s no filter inside, dust and debris can be sucked inside your furnace and cake up the underside of your AC coil which will cause big problems!

2. Remove old filter.

  • Once you remove the old filter, you’ll see a lot of dust covering it which is a good sign that it was ready to be changed

  • If you haven’t already purchased a new filter, check the side of your old filter to determine what size it is, so you can buy a matching one

    • If you don’t have a new filter readily available, re-insert that filter so your furnace isn’t without one

    • Do Not turn on your furnace without a filter placed inside

  • If you have already purchased a new filter, skip to Step #4

3. Purchase a new filter.

4. Replace the old filter.

  • Once you have the new filter, go ahead and remove the old filter again (with the furnace off)

  • You’ll notice an arrow on one of the sides of the filter that’s labeled “Air Flow”, make sure this arrow is pointing in the direction of your furnace

  • Insert the filter into the filter slot/drawer

  • Make sure to put the slot cover back on

  • If you’re unsure of how to insert the filter, check out this video of Shannon

5. Turn your furnace back on.

  • After you’ve replaced the filter, you are free to turn your furnace back on and enjoy the fresh air!

What if your furnace filter is electronic?

Electronic furnace filters (also known as electronic air purifiers/ionizers) are reusable and efficient alternatives to the average furnace filter. They collect large clumps of dust in the prefilter and collect the smaller dust particles in the electrically charged filter.

Benefits of an electronic air filter

  1. They are reusable:

    • Instead of regularly changing out your old filter, all you need to do is remove your electronic filter and wash it.

  2. More efficient:

    • Up to 99% of dust particles are stopped from recirculating throughout your home.

  3. They help with allergies:

    • Since more fine particles are trapped, less bacteria, mold and other allergens are in the air you breathe which is important because these particles can often lead to illness.

If you have an electronic air filter, here is a guide to cleaning it.