Though a filter is one of the simplest components of a furnace, it’s also one of the most important. The job of a furnace filter is to prevent dust, pollen, dirt, hair, pet dander, and other types of debris that the return duct draws in from building up on the blower fan. Because the filter is constantly working, it collects a lot of gunk. Though it can be cleaned a few times, eventually, it does need to be changed. Once the furnace filter is worn out, it won’t function properly. This hinders the efficiency of your heating system. More importantly, this will also impact the comfort of your home, increase the cost of maintaining your furnace, and reduce the lifespan of the entire system. Above all, it can have negative effects on your health. For these reasons, it’s important to change out the filter as needed.
How to Choose a Furnace Filter
When you’re shopping for a furnace filter, you might be surprised to find that there are many types to choose from. With so many choices, trying to decide which one to choose may seem like an overwhelming process. To help you make the right choice, here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a filter for your furnace.
Check the Size
First, you’re going to want to determine what size filter your furnace takes. Sizes vary, with the most common including 16”x20”, 20”x25”, and 16”x25”, though there are several other sizes available. To find out what size filter your furnace needs, check on the side door of the filter cabinet. This is where the measurement should be listed. The filter must fit properly, otherwise, air can slip around the outer edges, rendering it ineffective.
Consider the Thickness
Like the dimensions of a furnace filter vary, so does the thickness. The thickness of these filters ranges from 1 inch to 5 inches. Generally speaking, the thicker the furnace filter, the more efficient it will be and the longer it will last. The configuration of your system will indicate the thickness of the filter that the furnace can accept.
Consider the Type
There are two main styles of furnace filters: pleated air filters and non-pleated air filters. The former has a greater surface area, which allows them to capture significantly more contaminants and smaller particles while still allowing for great airflow, thus making pleated furnace filters much more efficient than non-pleated filters. Do keep in mind, however, that pleated filters tend to cost more than the non-pleated variety. While the initial price may be more, in the long run, it will actually save you money as pleated filters do a much better job of filtering out particles, which will improve the efficiency of your furnace. Plus, they last a long longer.
Check for an Efficiency Rating
You’re also going to want to consider the efficiency rating of the filter. Furnace filters feature a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which indicates the effectiveness of the filter and is the standard rating system that The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers accepts. With the MERV rating system, the higher the number, the more efficiently the filter is at removing contaminants and pollutants. Most standard household furnace filters have a MERV rating of 10. However, the rating can go as high as 12, which you may want to consider if you suffer from respiratory health conditions, such as asthma or allergies, or if you have pets or reside in an environment that is particularly dusty.
Wrapping It Up
With the tips mentioned above, you should be able to select the right furnace filter for your specific needs. If you need assistance with selecting a filter, speak with a professional, will be able to help you make the right choice.
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