Tuesday, February 19, 2008

#176 - Change Is Good

Changing (Or At Least Checking) My Furnace Filters Monthly

Do you do it? I don't. Not as often as I should anyhow. In fact, it's been longer than I'd like to admit. And when I say "longer", I mean "I don't remember the last time I did it".

But it's something I should be doing every single month. I don't necessarily have to replace the filter at that time, but I do need to check to make sure it's not all clogged up. Because a clogged furnace filter means my furnace isn't moving as much air as it was designed to do, which means it has to run longer to heat the house, which means we're using more gas and electricity than we should.

So why would I suddenly start doing something that I already knew I should be doing? Because, as of today, it is on The Calendar. And anything that goes on The Calendar gets done. So from this day forward, the 19th of the month shall henceforth be known as "Filter Checkin' Day". Should make for a fun Anniversary activity come September.


Difficult, if not damn near impossible, to calculate. But it will result in a savings -- even if it's a small one.

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

OK, I'm sure no one's furnace is located in a super-easily accessible spot, but ours seems particularly hard-to-reach. I have to pull out the 12' ladder in the garage to access the furnace panel. And then there's the whole unscrew the panel thing and find a place to set it while I'm six feet up.

Whew. I'm breaking a sweat just thinking about it. Maybe I haven't forgotten the last time I changed it so much as I've blocked the horrid event from my memory.


Wendy said...

Thank you for reminding me. I should put it on my calendar, too :).

Nicole said...

What's funny is that my brother actually does this for a living! (Changing air filters for businesses though) Everytime he comes over he always yells at me to change mine (and gives me free ones to boot!)

N. & J. said...

You could also look at getting a resusable furnace filter. It would cost more upfront and some resuable filters don't get as clean as buying new filters but electrostatic ones get pretty close.


Anonymous said...

I have not a clue what language you are speaking. Checking furnace filter. Is it Slavic perhaps? Oh, wait! It's English. I can understand each word individually, but when you put them together, they make no sense.

We are poor little renters. We don't know from checking furnace filters. We have central gas heating. Do we even have furnace filters to check? Is this something I should ask my landlord? Wow. I learn so much from you every day.

Burbanmom said...


Yeah, I really like the reusable metal filters, but the price tag was just too high. Extra high, in fact, since our furnace uses two filters at a time.

Hopefully when our "stimulating tax rebate" arrives we can use it to buy some reusable filters and other eco-investments. In the meantime, I opted for the $8.99 three-pack. Because I'm broke. :-(

Gray Matters said...

My husband is obsessed with furnace filters - strange, I know, but he doesn't have many "chores" and this is one of them. He orders our filters online and quite honestly they are the thickest things I have ever seen - and like you - especially at 8 months pregnant, I can't maneuver myself into the small space in which they are suppose to go.

Big D said...

Fake Plastic Fish -

I've got to say, one of the most horrifying moments of my young adult life was realizing that the a/c & furnace filter hadn't been changed (um, EVER?!) in my dorm room... and then i started noticing that in friends' apartments, they hadn't been changed either! When i moved into my first apartment, I changed mine every month, b/c the carpet was so crappy that it created a lot of dust. it STILL freaks me out when people don't change theirs. The service people in apartment complexes all too often neglect to change these, even on a 3-month rotation.

So, *seriously* now, check it yourself. all that gunk in it? could be in your lungs.

N&J - where does one come by one of these elusive reusable filters of which you speak?! WOW. That is going to be the FIRST item on my list when I move into my next house!

Burbanmom said...

Big D, I researched the reusable filters and, while I haven't found them at Lowe's or Home Depot, I have found several places online where you can buy them. Here's one:


If you google "reusable air filters", you'll get loads of results.

Anonymous said...

That's great, Big D. But where are they? I don't know where the furnace filters are or how I would find them. Are they in the vents? We have vents in the ceiling and vents in some walls. Are they in there? We have central heating, which I know nothing about at all. Can someone please explain? I feel so stooooooooopid!

Big D said...

burbanmom - THANK YOU!
I am going to put this on my birthday wish-list. It's in November, but i think that that's about when i'll be out of debt from remodeling/moving! :)


Are you living in a house or an apartment? This answer is awful, because it allllllll depends. I've seen some crazy ones in my short life.

In apartments - at least in my experience and if it's a big unit and not a window unit - the filter is right near where the furnace is. In my place, there is a 2'x2' grill in the wall underneath the furnace that opens and the filter sits in a slot on the grill. to replace it, you check the measurement on the cardboard side of the current filter, then go buy one of the same size. I've also seen them where you have to open the door to where the furnace is, and the filter is to the side of the furnace so you slide it out and clean it in the bathtub (this is similar to the filter on a/c window units, which you also can clean in the tub).

What kind of a/c-slash-furnace do you have? do you have a big grill on your wall (or ceiling, like Burbanmom apparently does) that collects dust bunnies? That's how you can usually I.D. the suckers - find the nasty dust-collecting grill.

Anonymous said...

I did it! I did it! I so totally did it! And I so totally blogged all about it tonight! Read it here: