Changing your furnace filter is one of the easiest and most essential HVAC maintenance tasks. Luckily, it is a manageable DIY project. However, many people incorrectly change their filter. They simply pull the old one out and put the new one in place. In most cases this is perfectly fine, but problems can arise. This article explains some important steps for a more comprehensive filter replacement.
Why Clean the Filter Compartment
The most common problem with filter replacement is that homeowners will remove the old filter and put the new one in place without cleaning out the empty compartment. The furnace filter compartment is going to get dirty no matter how clean your filter is. If you fail to clean out the compartment, dirt and dust within the tracks that the filter slides into can cause problems.
For instance, it can make it more difficult for the filter to sit properly within the compartment. This usually results in gaps where air can blow past the filter. Any air that is not being filtered is bound to be dirtier, causing problems with your furnace pump. This means your furnace pump will get dirtier quicker and become less efficient. Simply put, you need to clean your empty filter compartment every time you change your filter.
How to Clean the Compartment
Cleaning the filter compartment is not that complicated except for the fact that it is such a narrow, skinny space. It can be hard to reach all the way to the back of the filter compartment. Usually, a narrow attachment on the hose vacuum will do the job. The compartment is not wide enough to fit your hand in, so using a rag usually doesn't work. If you have a dusting stick or some other narrow cleaning device, you should be able to effectively clean the entire department. You might also need to use a flashlight so you can actually see inside the compartment.
It is also important that you check for mold within the empty compartment. If mold forms at this point, it can get circulated throughout your entire duct system and into your home. In most cases, it is best to just let professional mold experts take care of the problem instead of trying to clean it yourself. Mold remediation is important and you want to make sure it is thoroughly removed.
As long as you replace your filter and clean the empty compartment on a regular basis, you should enjoy clean air and great airflow.