The filter is a crucial part of every HVAC system, helping it run efficiently throughout its lifespan. Changing the filter regularly ensures that your home has consistent access to clean air and the system operates optimally. How do I change my AC filter? Confirming the correct size and always installing the filter in the direction of the airflow is essential. Learn how to change filter in HVAC system with this step-by-step guide.

Where is the HVAC Filter Located?

Where is the HVAC filter located in your system? There is almost always a filter in the return duct, where it enters the unit. Larger homes likely have more than one unit while others may also have filters in return vents in the wall or ceiling. Make sure you change every filter to ensure that clean air flows properly throughout your home. Here’s how to change filter in HVAC system on a wall, ceiling, and at the unit.

How to Change a Wall Filter

Return vents in the wall should appear larger than a typical air duct vent and are usually square or rectangular in shape. Before replacing, make sure your new filter is the right size and that you turn your HVAC system off.

Here’s how to change filter in HVAC system wall vents:

  1. Move the bottom clips on the return vent cover to the open position or remove the bottom screws.
  2. Lift up the cover to access the old filter.
  3. Remove the old filter by pulling it outward.
  4. Place the new filter in the vent with the arrow facing into the return, not into the room.
  5. Adjust the filter as needed, making sure it fits snugly and properly.
  6. Close the grille and move the clips to the closed position or replace the bottom screws.
  7. Turn the system back on.

How to Change a Ceiling Filter

How do you install a HVAC filter in a ceiling return? Most vent covers have hinges that allow it to hang in place while you work. Confirm that the filter is the correct size and that you’ve turned the system off before beginning.

Follow these steps to change an HVAC ceiling filter:

  1. Slide the clips on the cover off to the side or remove the screws to open the cover and access the filter.
  2. Pull out the old filter.
  3. Remove any dust from around the return with a damp cloth.
  4. Insert the new filter, making sure the arrow on the filter is pointing inward, towards the return.
  5. Make sure the filter sits flush inside the return.
  6. Close the grille cover, slide the clips into the closed position or replace the screws.
  7. Turn the system back on.
how to change a filter in hvac system

How to Change the Filter at the Unit

While some filters may be visible at the point where the return duct enters the HVAC unit, others may be behind a cover. If your home has two HVAC units, make sure you change the filter at each location, turning the system off before beginning.

How to change filter in HVAC system at the unit:

  1. If there is a cover, remove the clamps that hold it in place.
  2. Pull the cover off to access the filter.
  3. Remove the old filter by sliding it out from the top and bottom metal tracks.
  4. Insert the new filter with the arrow pointing towards the HVAC unit. Slide the filter in as far as possible, making sure it stays in the top and bottom tracks.
  5. Replace the cover and reposition the clamps.
  6. Turn the system back on.

Regular HVAC filter changes ensure that your home has clean air and that the system runs efficiently, saving you money. How often does the filter need to be changed? Replacing it every 3 months should be sufficient, while homes with pets or allergy sufferers can benefit from changes every 6-8 weeks.

Though knowing how to change filter in HVAC system can prevent problems, malfunctions may still occur. When they do, call Dependable Heating and Air for a professional HVAC repair.