The Gap

How to change air filters in 5 minutes

How to change air filters in 5 minutes 1

First, the bad news. Topics on changing air filters don’t rank high in the reading interest of many men and women. In a 1995 study by John Dewey titled Interest and Effort in Education, the American philosopher opined that “interest means being engaged, engrossed, or entirely up with some activity because of its recognised worth”. 

Likewise, the Pew Research Center identifies five dimensions of people’s engagement with information. What particularly stands out when it comes to people’s enthusiasm is how interested they are in the subject. Therefore, our goal is to make this article engaging, sustain your enthusiasm, and maintain your interest to the end.  If you are not comfortable doing this task yourself, please hire a professional.

Now, let’s put this to the test by keeping up with the K…


Understanding air filters and how to clean and change them will be clearer if we keep up with the human body’s K filter – your Kidneys.

Anatomy of the Kidney

Just like the different types of filters, your kidneys separate the good substances in your body’s fluids from those that are harmful to you.

Unlike air filters, however, your kidneys come in twos. They sit on each side of the spine underneath the rib cage. They look like two bean-shaped organs, each the size of a human fist but smaller than your average air filter.

But like air filters, your kidneys filter waste and toxins out of the blood. The “twin-towers” are responsible for taking waste out of other fluids in your body as well. Being filter fluids, the kidneys also balance them. In the process of filtering your blood, kidneys release hormones into your body. These hormones are responsible for regulating your blood pressure as well as controlling and stimulating the number of red blood cells that are produced in your body.

Just have all these in mind as we talk about changing air filters with special attention given to cabin air filters, furnace filters, AC filters, and air filters in cars.

Back to your kidneys

Unlike air filters that can be changed, replaced, and displaced, never pray your kidneys to go through this process. But to bring this topic home, let us talk about how to “change” your kidneys by paying attention to these six steps that are applicable to air filters.

  1. Know and understand what your kidneys do in the normal functions of the body as well as what kind of diseases or problems can be caused by kidney disease.
  2. Determine if you are at risk for any type of kidney disease. Those who have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or a history of kidney disease are more at risk.
  3. Be able to recognize what symptoms might be a sign of kidney diseases such as any pain, discolouration or unusual form of urine/urination, an unusual increase in the need to urinate, being overly tired and weak, and having puffy or swollen ankles, abdomen, eyes, face, or feet.
  4. Seek out a professional and immediately get screening for potential threats.
  5. Stay healthy by eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of daily exercises, and drinking enough water.
  6. Stay informed about your kidneys, the health of your kidneys, and any risks that you might have.

Sorry for the digression. Now let us link the kidneys back to air filters.

Air Filters

There are seven commonly used air filter types:

  1. HEPA filters
  2. UV light filters
  3. Electrostatic filters
  4. Washable filters
  5. Media filters
  6. Spun glass filters, and
  7. Pleated filters.

DIY Quick Fix: Changing Your Air Filters | Griffin's Auto Repair

In general air filters work to purify the air circulating through your home, office, car and/or business premises.

Remember the role of your kidneys? An air filter does similar things. It traps particles such as dust, mould, fungal spores, pet dander, and fibres before they enter your system. It also keeps your coils clean and prevents clogging. Checking your air filters every month is important because damaged coils cannot properly heat or cool the drawn air.

Cabin Air Filter

In your vehicle, the cabin air filter helps remove harmful pollutants, including pollen and dust, from the air you breathe within the car. Most times, this filter is located behind the glovebox and cleans the air as it moves through the vehicle’s HVAC system. Once you observe that your car has an unpleasant odour or the airflow has decreased, consider replacing the cabin filter to give the system, and most importantly yourself, a breath of fresh air.

Furnace air filter

The furnace air filter collects dust and debris that might otherwise go into the furnace and cause problems. This filter is possibly more popular in Nigeria than most people like to admit. It does its cleaning job pretty well, but it has one major disadvantage i.e. it cannot get rid of the debris that it collects. This is why the filter needs to be replaced every three months.

AC filter

An AC air filter tends to generally work with your HVAC system. Its purpose is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. There is no point being amazed about how much is built up there in a very short time. As a result of the pandemic, AC filters have earned a lot of attention lately. Due to some uncertainty about the airborne transmission of deadly viruses like Covid-19 coronavirus, some experts now prefer the use of higher-efficiency filters to trap virus particles.

How to change an AC filter (and using the same knowledge for other types of filters)

  • Turn off the power to the equipment you are working on
  • Remove the old filter as prescribed by the manufacturer of your equipment
  • Check the condition of the filter
  • Dispose of the old filters safely
  • Clean the filter (if it is one that can be clean)  and lastly,
  • Insert the new or cleaned filter


Your kidneys and air filters have a lot in common. We have tried to use this relationship to explain one and clarify the other. However, if we have been unable to achieve clarity, forgive us our trespasses. Either way, if or when in doubt, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Thanks for reading!

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