Furnace Filters: Just the Facts, Ma’am
As a homeowner, you depend on your furnace to regulate a comfortable temperature for you and your family. This is especially true as the winter months draw nearer. But what can you do to maintain your system’s integrity between those all-important professional tune-ups? The answer: regularly change your furnace filter! Read on for more important furnace filter facts from the team at Getzschman.
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What Is a Furnace Filter?
If you have a furnace, you have a filter. This fiberglass sheet has one purpose, to filter the air that flows through your return ducts. You see, your furnace draws in air through these return ducts, warms it, and blows it back out as heated air. Of course, air is not the only thing the return duct sucks in… dust, hair, and other airborne particles also get swept up, but they are stopped from affecting the blower fan by (you guessed it!) your filter.
Why Do I Need to Change My Filter?
Changing your filter is an integral step in ensuring your furnace is running efficiently. Too much particle buildup will force your furnace to work harder in order to pull air through the intake. There are also some filters that help improve the air quality in your home by removing pollen and bacteria from the air. The bottom line: too much buildup could prevent your filter from doing its job and cause your system to shut down.
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How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter?
This question is best answered by your furnace user manual. Recommendations may also vary depending on what kind of filter you use, how many pets you have, if you suffer from allergies, etc. If you use disposable filters, it is generally recommended that you change them once a month. Pleated filters typically have a longer lifespan and last anywhere from three months up to a year.
What Kind of Furnace Filter Should I Buy?
There are several kinds of furnace filters available and it depends on the machine you have and the strength of filtration you are hoping to achieve. As mentioned above, pleated filters tend to last longer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should use them. If you are looking for the cheapest option, fiberglass disposable filters are your answer. It should be noted, however, that fiberglass filters are much less sturdy and typically have lower ratings (remove fewer particles) than pleated filters.
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Ratings? What Ratings?
That’s right! Filters have efficiency ratings too. It’s not related to the efficiency of your furnace, but a clean filter will certainly help keep your furnace’s efficiency rating up as well. Filters are given Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings. These ratings measure the “worst-case efficiency performance” or how well the filter can still perform while choked in dust. The higher the MERV rating, the higher the efficiency.