Do you need to replace your HVAC filters but find yourself asking: Where are my air filters located? If so, you’re at the right place. This article will discuss what air filters are and how you can easily locate them for replacing the diary filter.
Changing your air filters regularly is crucial. It keeps your family healthy and your HVAC system smoothly running. If you are unsure how to find the filter on your HVAC system, you need to look around your filtration unit. Different units place their filter duct in different places. Air filters are generally located in the blower compartment before the air handler.
It is essential to replace your air filters regularly. But you won’t get far if you’re asking, “Where are my air filters located?”. Whether you’ve recently moved into a house or are changing the filters for the first time, locating filters is the first step. In this article, where are my air filters located? We’ll discuss different areas where you can find your filters.
What are Air Filters?
As we answer the question, “Where are my air filters located?” we’ll discuss what HVAC filters are and their functioning. As the name indicates, the basic function of an air filter is to remove all pollutants and particles from the air.
Earlier, filters were installed in medical facilities, hospitals, and industries. Nowadays, HVAC systems have become a crucial part of your home. They are responsible for maintaining indoor air quality and keeping you safe from allergies.
There are various air filters in the market that you can choose from. The filter that would be best for you depends on your usage, environment, and the type of system installed.
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1. Flat-Paneled Fiberglass Filters
These flat-paneled fiberglass filters are disposable. This means you cannot reuse them, and you must replace them once every two months. While it does filter out dust particles and pollen, it’s still unable to improve your indoor air quality.
They have the lowest MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating, ranging between 1 and 5. This means that fiberglass filters are the least effective type of air filter. However, due to their affordable cost, they are one of the most popular air filters.
2. Pleated Media Filter
A pleated media filter is more efficient than a fiberglass filter. The creases in its design increase its surface area and the efficiency of this air filter. It can easily trap mold spores and pet dander from your air.
This air filter has a MERV rating between 5 and 13, which is quite apt for an average household. Pleated media filters keep your family healthy, provide less airflow resistance, and suppress the fan’s noise.
If you don’t have any pets or live alone, you can choose a filter between the MERV ratings 5 and 9. If you have a pet, choose a filter with a MERV rating greater than 9. They can more efficiently filter out pet dander and dust particles.
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3. HEPA Filter
HEPA is the best type of air filter available in the market. Most companies recommend these filters as they offer the highest protection from molds or airborne pollutants. These filters can capture even the smallest microns, including bacteria and trapped tobacco smoke.
These advanced filters have the highest MERV rating, ranging between 17 and 20. However, you need a particular HVAC system installed in your house to use these air filters. They usually don’t fit with basic filtration systems.
HEPA filters are best suited for medical facilities and hospitals. You can use them in your house if one of your family members is severely allergic.
4. Reusable Air Filters
As the name suggests, reusable air filters can be washed after every use. This means you don’t have to replace them. Instead, you can clean them out every 20 days and install them back into the system. However, it would help to answer the question, “Where are HVAC filters located” before you can replace them.
These reusable air filters are sustainable and great for the environment. But, they don’t offer much protection from airborne pollutants. They have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. If you are using these filters, dry them out before installation. If you install wet air filters, it can result in mold or mildew growth.
Why Should You Replace Your Air Filters Regularly?
The responsibility of your HVAC system is to clean your indoor air from any airborne pollutants. But, if you won’t replace your filters regularly, they’ll harm your health. As we continue to answer the question, “Where are my air filters located?” we will discuss why it’s crucial to replace your filters regularly.
1. Health Hazards
When you don’t replace your air filters regularly, there is a good chance that your air is not filtered correctly. This can lead to some pretty severe health hazards for your family. You might see some immediate effects like sneezing or skin rash. Long-term effects of not changing your air filter include respiratory problems.
2. Poor Temperature Regulation
The air will not flow properly through your HVAC system if your air filter is clogged. With this strain, the warm or cool air won’t be able to reach the house properly. Clogged ducts can make your rooms too hot in summer and too cold in winter months.
3. High Energy Bills
When you don’t replace your filter in a while, it gets clogged with dust particles. In such cases, your HVAC system has to work harder and longer to distribute heat or air throughout the house. It thus consumes more units of energy, and your utility bill would be significantly higher.
4. Mold Contamination
When you don’t replace HEPA filters regularly in your home or a medical facility, there is a chance of mold contamination. These filters trap mold spores and can lead to a buildup of moisture. This can cause mold infestation inside the air duct. When the air circulates, it can carry mold spores to your home and make your family sick.
When figuring out the answer to “Where are HVAC filters located?” you should always look for any mold infestations. In case you find one, you should get them treated instantly.
5. Furnace Failure
Your HVAC system has to go through a lot when you don’t replace your air filters regularly. Over time, your system would get overworked and will eventually break down. This will leave a massive dent in your pocket. You might have to invest up to $12,000 to get your HVAC system fixed.
How to Find the Filter on Your HVAC System?
Once you’ve realized that you might have a dirty air filter installed, you need to replace it as soon as possible. You can contact an HVAC technician to replace your air filters. Or you can do it yourself. But first, you need to find where your HVAC filters are located.
In this section of “Where are my air filters located?” we will discuss all the possible scenarios. It might be a little tough and frustrating at first. But it’s just a one-time effort. Once you’re aware of your air filter’s location, you can easily replace it the next time. Here are a few places where your filter might be placed.
1. Central Air Return Register
If you’re wondering, “Where are my HVAC filters located?” you should definitely look above you. When you have a grill on a wall, there is a good chance that your air filters might be placed there. This is usually true for individual room air return ducts.
Depending upon the design of your house, there might be several return points. If you have more than two grills in the house, the filter is not placed in the central air return register.
2. Attic Air Handler
You can look into your attic for a slot with a removable cover. The thickness of the slot would depend upon the filter you use or your HVAC system. If you use a fiberglass filter, the slot would be 1 inch wide. However, if you use a high-capacity pleated filter, then the slot can be several inches thicker.
When you’re in the attic, you should look for a large metal enclosure with the same dimensions as the blower unit. It would help find an air filter slot where the return plenum meets the blower fan assembly. If you find your air filter in the attic, you can easily slide out the old filter. If it is secured by a metal frame, you will need a screwdriver to unhook it.
3. Basement Air Handler
If you’re asking, “Where are my HVAC filters located” and live in a house with a basement, you should check it out. If you cannot find your air filter in the attic, it might be in the basement air handler. You should look for an air filter slot next to the bottom of the air handler. This is usually the case with HVAC systems that have an up-flow unit.
4. Electrostatic Air Cleaner
If you haven’t found your air filter yet, it might be hidden next to an electrostatic air cleaner. These are true for filtration systems that have this unit separately installed. The electrostatic air cleaner is a filter in itself. This means that this unit should be removed and cleaned once every few months.
Tips for Replacing Your Air Filters
Once you’ve figured out where your HVAC filters are located, you should replace your dirty air filter as soon as possible. This section on “Where are my air filters located” will discuss a few tips and tricks for changing the HVAC air filter.
- Using the same filtration system as a furnace and air conditioner, your systems may share the same filter. You should inspect your home correctly and look for one or multiple filters installed. A dirty filter has the potential to damage your filtration system.
- Always analyze the air filter’s length, breadth, and thickness before buying a new one. Unless it’s a traditional filter, you’ll find the sizing information on the side of the filter. You should always fit the same sized filter, so the debris and pollutants are filtered correctly.
- The dimensions of each brand are different. So, make sure you measure your air filter.
- Choose the type of filter you want based on your needs and the system installed. Fiberglass filters are inexpensive but are not as effective. On the other hand, good-quality pleated filters are effective and easily found in the market.
- You should always install your air filter with the arrows pointing towards the blower system. The arrows should never point towards you.
- To avoid any buildup of debris on your air filter, you should replace your filters regularly. If you live alone without a pet, you should replace filters once every 9- days. If you live with a family and pets, replace the filter once every 30 to 60 days.
- Vacuum off the grill to remove any remaining dust particles before you close up the metal frame of the filter.
- Always note the date you changed your filter or set a reminder. This way, you’ll know when you should be checking and replacing your air filters.
Where are my Air Filters Located Conclusion
HVAC systems are essential for the health of your family. Maintaining these systems and replacing the air filter would help you maintain it and keep it working with high efficiency. Before moving forward and replacing the filter, you should first know where your HVAC filters are located.
Different brands have their air filters placed at other locations. Hence, the trickiest step is to find these ducts and filters. You need to look around and find a duct opening in your HVAC system.
If you see a large grill in your ceiling, your air filters are placed above you. If you have a basement, then there is a chance that the air filter might be there. At times air filters are also placed in the wall registers. In short, you need to follow your machinery and find a slot where an air filter can be fixed. This will help determine where are HVAC filters located.
FAQs about Where are my Air Filters are Located
What Happens if Your HVAC Doesn’t Have a Filter?
If you run your HVAC system without an air filter, you are not filtering out the indoor air. Additionally, more and more pollutants, dust particles, and debris will accumulate on the components and depreciate their effectiveness. An HVAC system without an air filter would circulate air with all the pollutants intact.
Is the Furnace Filter the Same as the AC Filter?
If you have the same system for the furnace and AC, you will have a single air filter. This makes your work easier, as you only have to locate and replace one filter. You’d have to find and replace different air filters if you have two different units.
How Many Filters Does My HVAC Have?
The number of filters your HVAC system has depends on your house and the brand. If you live alone in a small house, the HVAC system would have a single filter. Generally, HVAC systems are placed in a centralized location and have two separate air filters. You need to analyze where your HVAC filters are located and replace both of them.
How Much Should It Cost to Change the Air Filter?
Your air filter’s cost would depend on the type of filter. The higher the filter’s efficiency, the more expensive it would be. Fiberglass filters are the most affordable, and HEPA is the most expensive air filter. Replacing an air filter can cost you between $40 and $70.
Why Are My Air Filters so Dirty?
There are different reasons why an air filter can be dirty. If you live in an industrial area, have heavy carpeting, or have pets, your filter gets clogged easily. Your filter can also become dirty due to poor air quality inside your home. The dirt will clog your filters if you haven’t changed your filters for more than two months.
How Do I Know if My AC Filter Is Dirty?
There are a few ways you can analyze if your AC filter is dirty or clogged up.
You are getting a significantly higher utility bill.
There is more dust accumulation on your furniture.
Your HVAC system is unable to regulate the temperature of your house.
Your allergies are acting up.
Can I Change My Air Filter Myself?
Changing an air filter is easy, and you can quickly do it yourself. Once you know where your HVAC filters are located, you just need to slide out the old air filter. Bring the new filter in the same size. Check the direction of airflow and slide in the new filter. Secure the filter with the metal frame.
What Size HVAC Filter Should I Use?
The size of the HVAC filter you want to use should depend on the system installed in your home. When replacing the air filter, you should take out the old filter and turn it to its side. You can find the dimensions written clearly on the side of the filter. Ensure you bring the same sized air filter for your home.
Which Way Should the HVAC Filter Face?
To ensure that the air passes through the filter correctly, you need to install it in the right direction. You should always ensure that the red arrow on the filter is pointing towards the air direction.
What Happens if I Put the HVAC Filter in the Wrong Direction?
If you place your HVAC filter in the wrong direction, the airflow will reduce. The fan would not be able to suck inadequate air. Your system will work harder to get as much air as it can.
Since the system will work longer, you will see a hike in your energy bills. When it is not fixed for a longer duration, your entire furnace could fail.