The ABCs Of Furnace Filters
Furnace filters are the front line of preventive maintenance in a heating system. The list of system performance and mechanical problems that ensue from a neglected filter or one with inadequate specifications to do the job is surprisingly long. No wonder an HVAC technician on a service call always checks the condition of the filter as one of the first items on the list. That’s something almost every homeowner can and should do themselves—a monthly filter change during the heating season is good maintenance for a small investment.
Here are some basic facts of furnace filters:
- Furnace filters continuously remove particulates from the air in your living spaces. These include common household dust, but also allergens like pollen, pet dander and microorganisms such as mold spores and bacteria. Indoor air quality is an increasingly important issue in air-tight, energy-efficient homes and adequate air filtration is critical. In addition to protecting your family, a furnace filter also protects furnace components from dust and dirt that cause malfunctions and decrease heating effectiveness.
- Consumers can effectively comparison shop for furnace filters because sizes are standardized. If you know your furnace make and model, you can choose from a variety of filter media and MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) ratings. The MERV system rates filters based on the filter’s efficiency at removing particulates from the air. Higher MERV ratings are more efficient. For most household heating purposes, filters with MERV ratings of 8 to 12 are a good balance of filtration efficiency with optimum airflow.
- Filter media ranges from inexpensive fiberglass filters with low MERV rating up to high-efficiency, medical-grade HEPA filters. Many mid-range filters feature pleated fabric media that increases the total square inches of filtration for greater efficiency while imposing less restriction on system airflow. HEPA-grade filtration generally requires system alterations for use in residential furnaces.
Contact us today about furnace filters to keep your air quality and household comfort optimal this winter.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wilmington, Delaware and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: james.swinson13