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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've got a furnace filter that's top loaded, rather than side loaded as is usual. I can take the top piece off, I can see the filter, but I can't get it out. I looked all around the enclosure, there's absolutely no way to open up one of the sides, failing taking apart the whole ventilation.

So... I really can't figure this out. there's not enough space for me to get my fingers in, I've tried using forks on either side to life it up... there's not enough space for me to get it out.

Anyone got any idea what the problem is here? I think my only solution may be to visit Home Depot and pick up a couple of some kind of skinny tool with a 90 degree hook on the end.

Picture attached. It's sideways, top is on the left side foreground. The screw on the right is on the floor.
 

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Usually Confused
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It looks like a site-made enclosure but I'm not sure. I assume your element is like most with a cardboard frame and they're not built to exacting standards and may be snagging on something. Can you access the blower cabinet from the other side? You might have more to get your hands on. Otherwise, perhaps a couple of needle nose pliers from the top.
If you do get it out, I'd check the enclosure for protruding edges, etc. Perhaps a piece of scrap wood along the bottom will sit the filter a touch higher.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm fairly sure it's not snagging on anything, it's just super snug. there's no clearance on the sides (just enough to slide a knife in) and less than a 1/2" clearance on either end. There's not enough space to get pliers in, I tried that along with everything else. The frame is actually metal -- that's another one of my ideas -- go to Home Depot and get a couple small yet strong magnets & see if that does the trick.

There's no other access to the enclosure from either side.

Definitely a good idea with the piece of wood, I think I'll do that when I finally figure out how to get it out lol...
 

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I think my only solution may be to visit Home Depot and pick up a couple of some kind of skinny tool with a 90 degree hook on the end.
The tool you're looking for is called a tape measure. Of course make sure the blower isn't blowing while you do it, otherwise that will make it much harder.

After you get the filter out, replace it with one that is a couple of inches taller so that you have something to grab onto next time. It's OK if part of it sticks out past the ductwork.
 

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Newbie Bill
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A couple of coat hangers with the ends bent into hooks?


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Property Mgt/Maint
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If opening the lower front access panel doesn't work, run a drywall screw into the edge of the filter and pull it out by the screw.
 
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