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How Often to Replace Furnace Filter in Big Bear?

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


Whether it is an electric or a gas furnace, it provides you with the much-needed warmth in the cold winter months. Without proper heating, however, you and your family could suffer from various health problems resulting from a cold and damp living environment. 

Although the furnace is a vital part of your house, most people rarely notice it as long as it keeps working. And if something does go wrong, most people end up Googling “furnace repair near me,” trying to find a last-minute solution to their heating problem.

Instead, if you understood how to maintain all the components of your furnace, especially the furnace filter, in excellent condition, you can enjoy efficient and even heating for many winters to come.

The filter is an incredibly important component of your furnace. When maintained well, it can prevent you from expensive repairs and even complete furnace replacement. To understand what a filter does and why you should replace it, you should first understand how a furnace works.

A. How Does a Furnace in Big Bear Work?

In a typical forced-air furnace, the fans located in the vents and the ductwork suck the air from inside your house and pass it through the heat exchanger. The heating element of your furnace then heats up the air as it passes through the heat exchanger.

The hot air is circulated to the various areas of your house through the ductwork. This cycle continues until the desired room temperature is reached.

So, where does the furnace filter come in? This brings us to the next point.  

B. What Does a Furnace Filter Do?

Located between the air intake and the furnace itself, the primary function of the air filter is to keep the blower fan in the return duct free of dust, debris, and other contaminants. It essentially prevents airborne particles from entering your heating and cooling system, keeping its sensitive components safe.

This filter offers an additional benefit. As it removes contaminants from the air that circulates through your ductwork, the quality of air inside your house also improves. However, maintaining indoor air quality is not the primary job of a furnace filter.  

C. Why Do You Need to Replace the Furnace Filter?

1. Improves the Life and Efficiency of Your Furnace

If you ensure regular furnace filter replacement, you can enjoy the following benefits as a home owner.

One of the main benefits of replacing your filter regularly is the increased life and efficiency of furnace. In other words, your furnace will continue to function without any issues for a long time. So, you won’t have to frantically search for furnace repair near me at the eleventh hour.

As dust and debris build up in the filter, it becomes difficult to pass the air through the ductwork. As a result, your fan motor as well as your furnace has to overwork. In most cases, this will lead to frequent furnace repairs. In the worst-case scenario, however, you may need a complete furnace replacement, which can cost you a fortune.

2. Lowers Your Energy Bills

When you change the filter in time, there is no dust and debris accumulation. Thus, air can easily and consistently pass through the filter and the ductwork, which means the furnace won’t overheat. As you need less energy to generate the desired level of heat, you can save considerable money on your energy bills in the long run.

3. Maintains Good Air Quality

The third and the most important benefit is that you can maintain excellent air quality inside your house. When you make timely furnace filter replacement, the efficiency of the filter is maintained. This, in turn, ensures the air inside your house remains contaminant-free.

This is critical for keeping your family healthy, especially if one or more of your family members suffer from health issues like asthma or any airborne allergies. Filter replacement is an easy and cost-effective way to keep these problems at bay.

D. How Frequently Do You Need Furnace Filter Replacement?

Now that you have understood why furnace filter replacement is necessary, the next step is to know how frequently you should do it. According to ENERGY STAR, you need to check the filter every month to monitor the level of dust and debris it has accumulated, especially in winter and summer when the usage is heavy. It is also recommended to change the filter every three months or sooner depending on your usage.

You should also get your entire heating and cooling system, including your ductwork, checked before the beginning of summer and winter seasons every year. You can ask a professional to take a look at your system to make sure there are no leaks in the ductwork, dust accumulation, or busted components. You can also fix these issues before the summer or winter begins, saving you the trouble to look for furnace repair near me, when you can’t survive without heat even for a few minutes.

E. What Type of Furnace Filter Should You Use?

You can get furnace filters with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV ratings. Higher MERV ratings mean the filter can remove more types and number of particles. In short, filters with higher MERV rating have better filtration ability.

The ratings start from 1 and go up to 16. For most average American homes, a filter with a MERV rating between 8 and 11 is more than enough. However, you can ask your furnace manufacturer (or check the product manual) or talk to your furnace repair expert about a suitable MERV rating. When making the furnace filter replacement, try to use a new filter of the same make and MERV rating as the old one.

You can easily replace the filter at home. First, make sure your furnace is switched off. Open the filter compartment, slide the old filter out and replace it with a new one. Be sure to put the old filter in a disposable bag as quickly and gently as you can.

You should also wear protective gloves and a mask when replacing the filter. While you can replace a filter yourself, it is better to get professional help for other heating issues. This applies to not just major ones like furnace replacement, but also minor repairs and regular maintenance.


Proactive maintenance of your furnace plays a critical role in ensuring higher efficiency, balanced heating, and lower energy bills. Replacing the filter is one of the most important maintenance tasks you will need to prioritize. This short post will help you understand why you need to replace the filter, what type of filter you should use, how often you need to replace it, and how to actually make the replacement.

Get the Best Furnace Replacement in Big Bear!

Whether it is routine maintenance or complete furnace replacement, Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating can provide you with professional services. Our experts will make sure to provide you with heating solutions tailored to your specific needs. Call us today at (909) 584-4376 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.


If you are looking for a Big Bear plumbing, heating & air conditioning contractor, please call (909) 584-4376 or complete our online request form.