Choosing the Air Filter that is Best for your Furnace
Choosing the correct air filter for your home’s furnace is an important task. The right filter will ensure that your furnace works correctly and that the air you breathe within your home will be sufficiently clean. However, you need to consider various factors when choosing the best filter for your home’s furnace.
The fall season is a great time to change your air filter before you put your furnace to heavy use. Use the following information as a guide to help you determine what filter is best suited for the furnace in your home.
The typical furnace filter sizes are 16×20, 20×25, and 16×25. To find your furnace’s filter size, check the side of the door on the filter cabinet. Filters need to have a snug fit, so it is necessary that your new filter is an exact fit. A loose filter will allow air to slip out.
Filter thicknesses range from 1 inch to 5 inches. The thicker the filter, the longer it lasts, and the more efficiently it works.
Air filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating which tells you how effective the air filter is. The ratings range from 1-16; a higher MERV rating means the filters can capture smaller contaminants.
If the air quality in your home is good and you have no pets or smokers at home, then a lower-rated filter can be sufficient. Filters with higher MERV ratings can restrict airflow and may even lead to system malfunction. As such, a rating between 9 and 12 is recommended for good airflow and proper filtration.
Filter Types and Prices
There are several different types of filters: bag, box, cartridge, disposable, electrostatic, pleated, and washable. Disposable filters are the most common and are typically made of fiberglass, cotton, paper, or polyester. Washable filters can be reused, but they need more maintenance and don’t work as well as disposable ones.
There’s also a wide price range for furnace filters, and the price depends on the type of filter. The more expensive filters are a good investment, because you won’t need to change them as often. They will even capture smaller particles better than cheaper air filters. If you need a filter to catch smaller debris, then it’s worth it to spend the money on more expensive filters.
Cheap woven fiberglass filters capture debris that can damage the furnace’s blower motor. This kind of filter will be sufficient if air quality or allergies are not a problem in your home and if you remember to change it monthly. If you don’t remember to change it, though, the filter clogs up and becomes useless. It is also important to consider your own memory and behavior when purchasing filters.
Cheaper pleated filters only need to be changed on a three-month basis, which makes it a good choice for those who are more forgetful. Pleated filters are good at reducing allergens, because their increased surface area allows them to capture more contaminants.
Expensive, high-efficiency electrostatic filters are a good fit if you have household members who smoke, have asthma or allergies, or have pets. These filters magnetically attract contaminants (bacteria, dander, odors, smoke particles, and more) in addition to filtering them. They can be good for up to a year and should be washed or vacuumed on a monthly basis.
However, electrostatic filters are high maintenance and can be a waste. You need to use them in conjunction with a high-efficiency vacuum and air purifier to make the most of them.
It is not only important to get the proper filter for your furnace but to remember to replace or clean them on a regular basis. If you neglect to perform furnace maintenance by tending to its filtration needs, then the filter will become clogged. The furnace will then need to work harder for air to work through it, causing overheating. When there’s overheating, there’s a chance for fires and a need for fire damage restoration. To avoid this, take care of your furnace and its air filters.
Furthermore, dirty filters jeopardize the air quality of your home and cause an indoor air pollution problem. To solve this, call ServiceMaster Professional Services for professional air duct cleaning services. Our technicians will work to improve the air quality in your home so that you have healthy air to breathe.