Moving into a new home is supposed to be an exciting time, but it can become frustrating when you attempt your first maintenance chores as a homeowner and run into difficulties due to the unfamiliar layout and equipment. Are you having trouble finding your air filter or filters after having a new system installed or moving to a new home? These steps will help you locate it no matter what:
Find the Air Return
Start by looking for a large metal grille somewhere on the first floor of your home, most likely in a central location like a hallway or the living room. This is the return air register which allows the furnace or air conditioning system to suck in air from the home to heat or cool it. Many HVAC systems feature at least one filter behind the grille since it's easily accessible. It's also effective to filter air as it comes in so less dust and debris makes it into the rest of the system, reducing the need for cleaning during your annual maintenance visits from a professional.
Check the HVAC Unit
Even if you found at least one filter at the return air register, you still need to check the air conditioner or furnace itself for additional filters. These will be located on the air handler itself, which is a large boxy section either located on one side of a horizontal unit or on the top of a vertical piece of equipment. Look for a thin panel or edge to pull on to remove the current filter. Don't open any panels that are more securely shut than just latched since the filters you should change monthly are never hidden behind a more permanent piece of paneling. You don't want to accidentally expose yourself to additional risks while on your search for the air filters that need replacement.
Look Behind Each Vent
In some homes, extra air filters are installed behind each register or air vent in every room of the house. You should be able to see these filters by peeking through with a flashlight. You may only have them in a few rooms, such as the living room and kitchen. Even if you find these filters, you likely have at least one more at the HVAC air handler or at the return register. For best results, check all of these places before assuming you're done, or find a copy of the manual for your equipment online and verify the filter details.
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