Home Maintenance: Changing your Furnace Filter

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OK, it’s time to talk Home Maintenance here. As a homeowner you have a couple jobs that, whether you like it or not, need to be completed to keep your home safe and clean. One of those duties: changing your furnace filter.

how to change your furnace filterI have to admit, I’ve never done this before myself. I usually send my husband down to the cold, dark basement to complete this task. But now that he’s working late night shifts, I had to muster up enough courage to do it myself. Yes ladies, I’m now an expert at changing my furnace filter.

OK, first you need to find the size of your current filter. Either take peek at your old one for the size, or check for the size on the side of your heating and cooling system.

how to pick the right air filterNext you need to find out which way to point the arrow on the furnace filter. This arrow needs to point towards the motor blower so air flows through the filter (see the nice diagram on the back of the Filtrete Filter I used, pretty handy stuff). Just glide it inside your furnace slot and you’re done. Yep, that easy.

filtrete filter instructionsI chose to use a Filtrete Brand from 3M because they make an entire line of air filters for your home’s heating and cooling system. Plus they start at just a few bucks, last up to 3 months, and can be purchased at a lot of big retailers like Lowe’s, Target, Walmart and your local hardware store (you can find a location near you from FindMyFiltreteFilter.com).

filtrete air cleaning filtersFiltrete Filters are the most trusted brand of furnace filters. They are up to 4 times better than ordinary pleated filters and are constantly ranked #1. Filtrete Filters will help you create a healthy home and healthier indoor air by capturing airborne dust, allergens, bacteria and viruses.

filtrete filtersSo why is it important to change our your air filter? They can also help maintain airflow in heating and cooling systems, which may help prevent stress on the system and reduce the amount of energy needed to reach desired indoor air temperatures.

Some other brands can be tightly woven and restrict airflow which can cause your system to work harder and run longer. Yeah, make sure you choose the right brand!

filtrete air filtersAnd if you have an allergy problem, Filtrete Allergen Reduction Filters can capture up to 93% of large airborne particles like dust, pollen, mold spores and dust mite debris. It can also help capture up to 4 times more of the itty bitty particles floating around like smoke, smog, pet dander and other particles that carry bacteria and viruses. The best part? It only retails for $19.99!

filtrete filters ultimate allergenSo to help homeowners create a healthy home with cleaner air, Filtrete Brand (known for its air and water filtration products) has partnered with Mike Holmes from HGTV on the Filtrete Healthy Home Remodel Contest!

One grand prize winner will receive $30,000 worth of home inspections, repairs and renovations by a Holmes Group approved contractor. Four first-prize winners will be awarded $5000 CASH MONEY to put towards home repairs. Uh, awesome! And you can enter through June 30th 2013.

  1. Just visit Filtrete’s Facebook page (like to enter the contest).
  2. Explain in 1,000 words or less why your home deserves the healthier home remodel
  3. Submit up to 2 photos with your essay
  4. For more details, visit the official rules.

You can also follow Filtrete on Twitter at @Filtrete or register to receive seasonal emails and special offers at www.Filtrete.com.

how to change your furnace filter


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Filtrete. I have the honor of being an ambassador for them and will be sharing more information from 3M Filtrete in future posts. I was given key messages to share, but all the words and thoughts are my own.

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

before and after kitchen makeoverYesterday I unveiled to you my Painted Kitchen Cabinets. Yep, all I have to say is what a difference a coat of paint can make!

Today I thought I’d give you the step-by-step instructions for my process. It truly is an easy task to paint your cabinets, just a bit time consuming. Now I’m sure there’s a bazillion different ways to paint your cabinets, but here’s the process I used…

1. First thing you’re going to do is take down all of the cabinet doors and drawers using your drill.

2. Start labeling which door or drawer belongs to each cabinet base. I used sticky notes to keep track. A lot of cabinet doors and drawer faces were similar sizes and it can get very confusing if you don’t have them labeled correctly. Trust me.

3. Remove all cabinet hardware. Put all screws, hinges and knobs/pulls in separate ziplock bags and label those bags to coincide with the sticky note labels on the drawers and doors.

4. Now it’s time to start preparing your surface. I used Krud Kutter to degrease all of my cabinet doors, drawers and bases. I scrubbed these puppies like crazy to remove any dirt and grime from the surface.

Even though my cabinets did have a gloss on them, I did not use a deglosser. Instead I used sandpaper like a mad woman. And let me note here that sandpaper will become your very best friend during this process. If you hate sanding things, this might not be the project for you. Just sayin’.

5. Once you have everything sanded down, make sure you clean up all of the dust with a tack cloth. A little hand vac also comes in handy to get into the grooves of the cabinet doors if you have any bevels.

6. Now it’s time to start priming. Make sure you prop up your cabinets a couple of inches before you start painting so you can easily get the sides covered (I used random projects from around my house like scrap pieces of wood and old baking cooling racks. Make sure you paint on flat surfaces so you don’t get drip marks.

For my primer I chose Zinsser cover stain with the brown label ( and I used less than 1 gallon for the entire project).

7. For around the beveled edges I used a paint brush to really get the paint into the crevices. I used a 1.5 inch brush. Don’t lay on the paint too thick, and work the brush back and forth so you don’t get build up and drip marks.

8. For the larger areas I used a 4 inch trim and cabinet foam roller. This really gave the super smooth finish. I also tried to go over the edges as best as possible to cover where I used the paint brush.

Now when you’re using a primer, it will not 100% cover the entire surface of your cabinets with the first coat. It can look kinda splotchy. That’s ok… it’s still going to turn out just fine. BUT here’s where the work really comes in…

I coated each cabinet door with TWO COATS of PRIMER, and sanded between each coat.

9. After the second coat of primer was dry and sanded, then I added TWO COATS of Sherwin Williams Pure White satin paint (sanding in between each coat as well).

So again, if you hate to sand, this is probably not the project for you. Cause that was only the back side of the cabinets. Now you have to flip them over and paint the fronts.

10. OK, once all of your cabinet doors and drawers are painted on both sides, it’s time to begin on the bases in your kitchen. Use painter’s tape to protect all of your countertops, walls, flooring, etc. And then it’s the same painting process as above…

  • Degrease
  • Sand
  • Prime
  • Sand
  • Prime
  • Sand
  • Paint
  • Sand
  • Paint
  • Sand

11. (optional but recommended) Add a coat of polyurethane to your kitchen cabinets. There are many options, such as rub on poly, brush on, wax, etc. Be careful if you choose a brush-on oil poly as it can tend to yellow over time. I would suggest a water-based poly instead, like Minwax Polycrylic.

12. Remove all the painter’s tape and it’s time to reassemble the kitchen cabinets and hardware. Make any necessary touch ups as well (we had one paint drip mark on the side of the kitchen island; just sand out like crazy and repaint).

And here’s some answers to questions I’ve already gotten:

  • No, you can’t see brush strokes
  • Yes, you can see a little of the wood grain in the cabinets still, but it looks fabulous
  • I used Sherwin Williams ProClassic semi-gloss paint in Pure White (and it’s an acrylic interior paint and made for cabinets)
  • I painted the insides of the cabinet doors, but did not paint all of the shelves or the insides of the bases
  • This project probably took me about 40 hours total if I added up all my time
  • I didn’t use a paint sprayer because I have never used one before and was chicken. Simple as that.

Here are the final costs of my Kitchen Cabinet Makeover:

  • 1 gallon of Sherwin Williams ProClassic acrylic cabinet paint in Pure White – $40 (purchased during sale)
  • 1 gallon of Zinsser cover stain primer – $23
  • Paint brushes, rollers and sandpaper – about $30


before and after kitchen makeover

Please feel free to ask me any questions and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability!