Where is the Air Filter Located in a House?

Learn how to locate and change your home's air filter for optimal indoor air quality and to protect your HVAC system.

Where is the Air Filter Located in a House?

In most homes, you'll find the air cleaner housing situated right next to the air handler for your heating or cooling system. This is a large metal box with a fan motor and a fan inside. Most air handlers are installed in the basement, attic, or utility closet. Some larger homes have more than one HVAC system, and each will have at least one filter.

To locate the filter, first take a look at the filters inside or near the HVAC unit itself. Most likely, these filters will be located next to the oven or air conditioner of the air conditioner. The HVAC unit can often be found in an attic, basement, or in the back of a closet (somewhere far away). Once you've found the unit, look for a hinged or removable cover approximately one inch wide.

It can be oriented horizontally or vertically, and you should find a filter already in place. If you're not sure where your air handler is located, check the attic, basement, mezzanines, or garage. If you live in a smaller space (such as an apartment), your unit is likely in a closet. Usually, the air cleaner is close to your home thermostat, in a return duct.

Or, it's most likely right next to the air handler for your air conditioning system. The media filter has a high MERV rating that competes with the filtration system of an expensive high-MERV filter. It's common knowledge that you need to replace air filters regularly, and if you don't, damage and costly repairs often result in your HVAC system. Air filters should be changed every 30 days or once a year to ensure that indoor air quality remains high and to protect your HVAC system.

Since HVAC units are generally hidden in smaller, less convenient spaces, some homes are configured for air filters on the return grilles. Now that you've finally found your oven filter, you can learn how to change the air filter and start changing the filter as often as you should. Changing air filters regularly is a crucial part of regular home maintenance, but for new homeowners, maintaining air filters can be one of those small jobs that get undone because they don't know much about them.