Step 5: Changing the air filter

man replacing air filter of furnace
Photo: Keller & Keller
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"During the winter, all the air that your family is breathing comes through this filter," says Richard. "You can't change it too often, but never let it go for more than a year." Changing the filter is something any homeowner can do easily. At the same time, Richard checks the blower belt's wear and tension. (The blower, driven by an electric motor, moves heated air from the furnace through ductwork to room vents.) A loose belt can slow the blower, compromising efficiency. If the belt deflects more than ¾ inch when pressed firmly, it can be adjusted by sliding the motor backward slightly.
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    Tools List

    • Phillips screwdriver
      Screwdriver
    • Wire brush
    • shop vacuum
      Shop vacuum
    • strap wrench
      Strap wrench
    • combustion analyzer
      Combustion analyzer

    Shopping List

    1. Foil tape

    2. Oil filter
    (for oil-powered systems)

    3. Air filter

    4. Oil nozzle
    (for oil-powered systems)