Is It Possible To Change An Air Filter By Yourself?

Is It Possible To Change An Air Filter By Yourself?

If you are a homeowner, you know that maintaining your HVAC system is important to keep your home comfortable and your energy bills in check. One of the easiest and most effective ways to extend the life of your HVAC system is to change the air filter regularly.

The air filter plays an essential role in trapping dust, dirt, and other debris from circulating through your home, improving indoor air quality and helping your HVAC system work more efficiently. While it’s recommended to have a professional HVAC technician perform routine maintenance on your system, changing the air filter is a task that you can do yourself, even if you are not mechanically inclined.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the process of changing an HVAC air filter, provide you with some tips on choosing the right filter for your system, and explain why it’s essential to make this a regular part of your home maintenance routine. So, let’s get started!

Understanding The Need For Changing Your HVAC Filter

dirty hvac filter

Understanding why it’s important to change your HVAC filter is necessary for ensuring your system functions effectively. Despite your best efforts to keep your home clean, dust and debris can still find their way into your HVAC unit. The air filter plays a strong role in trapping these particles, preventing them from clogging up the system and causing damage.

However, if you need to replace the filter regularly, it becomes clogged with dirt and retains its ability to filter effectively. As a result, more dust and debris can infiltrate your HVAC system, leading to increased wear and tear on its components. This could ultimately result in system failures, which are especially unwanted during the hot summer months. To avoid such issues, checking your filter every month is essential, particularly when your AC is running constantly.

DIY Filter Replacement: A Step-By-Step Guide

DIY Filter Replacement

Changing your air filter is a quick task, usually taking just 10 to 15 minutes. But how you do it can vary depending on your HVAC system and the filter type. So, before you start, check the instructions for your unit and filter to be sure. Also, make sure you have got the right size filter – they come in different widths and lengths. This ensures it fits perfectly in your HVAC system.

Air filters also vary in quality. They are rated based on how well they trap particles in the air. Filters with higher ratings like 8 to 10 are better at catching different types of particles like dust, pollen, and odors. When you are picking a filter, think about what you need and if it will fit your system. Choosing a good filter can save you money in the long run by keeping your air clean and your system running efficiently.

Once you have got the right filter, follow these simple steps to change it:

  • Start by turning off your HVAC unit for safety. If you are not sure how then you can switch off the circuit breaker connected to the system.
  • Take the new filter out of its packaging and make sure it’s not damaged.
  • Find the latch that holds the cover grille in place and unhook it.
  • Check if the grille is dirty and clean it if needed with a cloth or vacuum.
  • Put the new filter in, paying attention to any arrows or colors on the frame that show which way it should go.
  • Put the cover grille back on and make sure the latch is closed properly.
  • Turn your HVAC unit back on.

Remember, these steps are for replacing filters in air return ducts. If your air filter is located in a different place, like an air handler cabinet or window AC unit, the process might be a bit different. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific equipment.

What Are The Signs That Indicate You Need To Replace Your Air Filter?


Deciding when it’s time to replace your air filter relies on several factors that impact its effectiveness and longevity. While manufacturers typically advise changing them every 1 to 2 months, HVAC professionals commonly recommend doing so every three months. However, it’s essential to take other variables into account, such as the type of filter in use, the number of pets in your household, the size of your family, and the extent of air pollution and nearby construction activities.

For households with furry friends, a more frequent replacement schedule is often necessary to prevent pet hair and dander from clogging the filter and compromising air quality. In such cases, replacing the filter every 2 months may be advisable. Likewise, if anyone in your household suffers from allergies, it’s crucial to change the filter every 45 days to minimize allergen buildup and ensure clean air circulation.

Alternatively, if your home does not see much activity, lacks pets, or doesn’t house individuals sensitive to allergies, or if you own a vacation property that remains vacant for extended durations, you may find that changing your air filter less frequently is adequate. In such cases, it’s common to replace the filter every six to twelve months. Adjusting the replacement schedule based on these considerations guarantees maximum air filtration and system performance.

Benefits Of Changing Your HVAC Air Filters

Discover the benefits of changing your HVAC air filters on time. From saving energy to breathing cleaner air, learn how this easy task can make your home more comfortable, healthier, and cost-effective.

1. Improving Energy Efficiency

One major benefit of changing your HVAC air filters regularly is that it helps your system use energy more efficiently. When your filter gets dirty, your HVAC system has to work harder to keep your home comfortable, which means it uses more power and costs you more money.

By swapping out the dirty filter for a clean one, your HVAC system can run more smoothly and save you money on your energy bills. Plus, using less electricity also means you’re reducing your impact on the environment by emitting fewer harmful gasses. So, changing your air filters not only saves you money but also helps protect the planet.

2. Durability

Changing your HVAC air filter not only helps it run more efficiently but also makes it last longer. When your system has to work harder because of a dirty filter, it wears out faster. Since replacing an HVAC system is costly, it’s best to avoid doing it sooner than necessary. This is important both in the short and long term.

If you don’t change your air filter regularly, parts of your HVAC system might wear out sooner, leading to repairs or replacements. For example, a dirty filter can block airflow, causing the system to struggle and potentially resulting in issues like frozen condenser coils. Regularly changing your air filter helps prevent these problems and ensures your HVAC system lasts longer.

3. Clean Indoor Environment

Regularly changing your HVAC air filters offers a significant advantage: ensuring a clean indoor environment. When your air filter becomes dirty, its ability to capture debris and contaminants diminishes, leading to pollutants circulating back into your home. Over time, as the filter becomes clogged, this problem worsens, allowing more pollutants to escape capture.

By diligently replacing the air filter on a regular basis, you can effectively maintain and even enhance indoor air quality. This simple maintenance task helps to keep your living space fresh, healthy, and free from harmful airborne particles, promoting a more comfortable and pleasant atmosphere for you and your family to enjoy.

4. Well-Being

Ensuring well-being is a key advantage of regularly changing your HVAC air filters. Poor indoor air quality can be harmful, especially for those with allergies or asthma. Dirty filters can trigger allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms. Long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality may even lead to more serious health issues.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prolonged exposure to poor indoor air quality can cause various health problems, from flu-like symptoms to respiratory diseases and cancer. While these cases may be extreme, it’s essential to maintain good indoor air quality. By regularly changing clogged filters, you can reduce the risk of health issues related to poor indoor air quality, creating a safer and healthier home environment for you and your family.

5. Protection Against Mold Growth

Protecting against mold growth is an essential benefit of regularly changing your HVAC air filters. Finding mold in your HVAC system is certainly undesirable. The filters play an important function in catching mold spores from indoor air and preventing mold formation. However, if the filter becomes excessively dirty, these spores can settle within your air ducts, fostering the development of harmful mold and mildew.

Furthermore, if the filter comes into contact with too much moisture or humidity, it might become a breeding ground for mold. As a result, maintaining a consistent schedule of filter changes is a preventative step to keep mold from growing in your ducts or HVAC system, resulting in a healthier indoor environment for you and your family.

6. Control Of Indoor Temperatures

Another advantage of sticking to a regular schedule of changing your HVAC air filters is the improved control you gain over indoor temperatures. When filters become clogged with dirt and debris, airflow is reduced, making it more difficult for your HVAC system to effectively cool or heat your home.

By ensuring that filters are replaced on time, airflow is restored, allowing your cooling system to operate more efficiently in maintaining the desired temperature indoors. This not only enhances your comfort but also contributes to the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. As a result, you will experience more consistent and comfortable temperatures throughout your home, while also enjoying potential savings on energy bills due to optimized system performance.

7. Ensured Safety

Finally, the important reason to change your HVAC air filter is for safety, especially fire safety. When the filter gets too dirty and airflow is blocked, the air in your HVAC system can be redirected. This might cause some parts of the system to get too hot and potentially ignite flammable debris, leading to a fire hazard in your home. Even the filter itself can become a fire risk if it gathers too much flammable material.

Also, if the dirty air filter is strained too much, it could collapse and be sucked into the blower’s motor. This could disrupt your HVAC system or damage the motor, posing an additional fire risk. Regularly changing the furnace filter in your HVAC system is crucial to prevent these dangerous situations and ensure the safety of your home.

Consequences Of Neglecting Filter Replacement

change an air filter

Neglecting to replace your air filter can have serious consequences, affecting both your health and your finances. While allergies and health issues may be a concern, the financial impact should not be ignored. Despite the inconvenience of remembering to buy new filters regularly, the potential savings are substantial.

When your air filter becomes dirty, it reduces airflow, forcing your air conditioner to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. This increased workload results in higher energy consumption and subsequently inflated utility bills. Furthermore, continuing usage of a clogged filter can put unnecessary strain on your HVAC system, speeding up wear and tear and potentially resulting in costly repairs or the need for a complete system replacement.

Moreover, a wet air filter can provide the perfect environment for mold growth. If left unchecked, this mold can spread throughout your home via the HVAC system, posing health risks to occupants. Depending on the severity of the mold infestation, professional remediation may be required, or worse, you may need to invest in a new HVAC unit altogether.

Fortunately, the solution to these problems is simple: regular air filter replacement. By replacing your air filter every 30 to 90 days, you can maintain good indoor air quality, improve the efficiency of your HVAC system, and potentially save on monthly energy bills. Plus, regular air filter replacement can help prevent costly repairs and health issues associated with mold growth.


Taking the initiative to change your air filter on your own is not only possible but also important for ensuring that your HVAC system continues to operate efficiently and effectively. By carefully following the simple measures given in our guide, you can ensure a continuously comfortable indoor atmosphere and optimal air quality in your home or company. 

However, if you still find yourself undecided or require professional assistance, rest assured that Custom Filters Direct is here to lend a helping hand. Our team of professional experts is dedicated to providing you with top-of-the-line filters and offering personalized guidance to help you select the perfect fit for your specific HVAC system requirements. Feel free to reach out to us at 1-877-958-5612 to explore our range of products further and learn how they can significantly enhance the overall performance and functionality of your HVAC system.