It is important for you to use furnace filters as they help decrease the release of allergens like pollen and dust through your heating system. Filters also boost the performance of your furnace. If you replace the filters often, you will maintain a home with clean air and a protection against many allergens and even bacteria that are often released through a forced air heating system.
Replacing furnace filters with regularity increases the life of your heating system and reduces energy bills. It is important to inspect the filters monthly and replace them as necessary. When your heating system cycles on regularly, it tends to produce more allergens and dust which the filter traps, thereby requiring replacement more often. When you do not replace filters, your heating system has to work harder to push the same amount of air out, increasing your energy bill costs and reducing the overall performance of your unit.
Learn How to Replace or Clean your Furnace Filter
It is important that your heating and cooling system is turned off before you attempt to replace or clean the furnace filter. Locate the service panel of the system and remove the cover with a screwdriver. Sometimes, the cover can be removed by hand too, depending on how it is fastened. The filter will be located near the outtake-intake blower. Check to see how dirty the filter is. If you cannot see through it, it is time for a cleaning or replacement.
Some filters are reusable and will require that you remove them and wash away the dust particles that cling to it. Using an outdoor hose with a sprayer, spray down the filter until it looks clean again and then allow to air dry before putting back in place. Disposable filters can be tossed when they become dirty and replaced with a new, clean one. Once you have replaced the filter, you can turn your heating system back on.
Types of Filters Available for your Furnace
Reusable filters often have a metal or fiberglass frame with fibrous filters that can withstand repeated washings. Disposable filters typically have thick cardboard frames with manmade or natural fibers for the filters. While reusable filters are more cost effective, they are more labor intensive due to the washings you may have to do every month. When choosing a furnace filter, look for the Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating. This tells you the effectiveness of the filter in blocking dust and other allergens. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration is for the product.
You will find four basic types of filters: electrostatic, HEPA (high efficiency particle absorber), mechanical and electronic. Mechanical filters are cheaper and allow smaller particles to escape through and require frequent changing. Electrostatic filters are made from polyester fibers which are charged electrically when air passes through. This static created traps allergens and can go longer between cleaning and replacement. Electronic filters do not have fibers but rather electrically charged mesh which attracts allergens and requires weekly cleaning. HEPA filters are perhaps the best on the market because it exceeds minimum MERV ratings by filtering out 99% of the allergens and particles in the air that passes through it. It is excellent for sick or clinical environments.