How to Choose the Right Type of Filter for your Furnace:
Choosing a furnace filter might be the last thing on your mind. Your furnace has been keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer and you feel that’s all that matters. However, even furnace filters need maintenance. For the best possible performance and to prevent sudden and inconveniencing malfunctions you should regularly clean or replace your furnace air filter. This will also increase the life of the AC components.
So how exactly do you go about choosing the right furnace filter for your home? There are several things that you should consider to avoid damaging your furnace. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right type of furnace filter.
Different systems require different types of furnace filters. Take out the manual and refer to it. You can also note down the dimensions if you are replacing the filter. Take the dimensions with you when you go to purchase a replacement. This will ensure you get the correct furnace filter. You should always use a filter that will eliminate the most contaminant with a minimal effect on air flow.
Disposable filters: These are made of layered cotton, fiberglass, paper or polyester materials. The materials are enclosed in a frame which easily slides into the duct work. These can be used on most systems. They have a MERV rating of between 2-3.
Adjustable Filters: These are available in different sizes and are commonly used for openings that are not standard.
Washable Filters: These can be removed for cleaning. They require a lot of maintenance and are not as efficient as disposable filters. They have a MERV rating of 1-4.
Electrostatic filters: These attract small particles and trap them using static electricity. They are available in reusable and disposable models. They have a MERV rating of between 8 and 12.
Choosing the right type of furnace filter is more important than most think.Furnace filters are the last line of defense when it come to your HVAC unit.Furnace filters protect the heating and cooling system as well as your lungs by removing the small and large particles from the air.It is vital to know which type of furnace filter is best for you as furnace filters come in variety of different materials.If you or someone in your house hold is suffering from asthma or allergies, choosing the right type of filter could diminish some of the allergy symptoms, In this article we will talk about what you need to know when it comes to furnace filters.
There are 3 types of furnace filters you could purchase to protect your health as well as the HVAC unit.They are made out of different materials and depending on your household needs you should try to purchase the right one to serve it`s purpose, never try to cheap out when it comes to purchasing furnace filters as it could have a negative impact on your health.
What is a MERV rating for furnace filters?
Every furnace filter has a MERV rating indicating how effective the furnace filter can remove the dust and debris from the air.
MERV rating stands for Minimal Efficiency Rating Value and it will range from 1 to 16
the higher the MERV number the more dust particle your furnace filter will capture.If you or someone in your house old is an allergy sufferer, you should not purchase a furnace filter with a MERV rating less than 5.If you or someone in your house hold smokes cigarettes indoors you should not purchase a furnace filter with a MERV rating less than 13.
Disposable furnace filters are made out of fiberglass, they will provide the least protection with a MERV rating of between 2 to 4.Disposable furnace filters will protect your furnace from dust and that is about it.Disposable furnace filters are the most common types of furnace filters, hence their cheap price, as an indoor air quality perspective we would not recommend using these type of furnace filter.
Washable furnace filters are made out of various layers of filtration media, as the air passes through the filter (media) , dust particles are positively charged and our unwanted house guests will attach themselves to the various layers of the electrostatic furnace filter.Washable furnace filters AKA electrostatic furnace filters come with a MERV rating of 4 to 12 and depending on your indoor air quality needs you can choose the right one for your home!
3.Electronic air cleaners:
Electronic air cleaners are the most expensive kind of furnace filters, they come in 4 pieces, there are 2 pieces (prefilter) and the other 2 pieces are the actual furnace filters.Prefilters trap larger particles and the filters catch smaller particles such as mold and bacteria.Electronic air cleaners could cost up to $600 depending on the brand and are one of the most effective ways to improve indoor air quality.How ever electronic air cleaners are not recommended for people who suffer from asthma or allergies as they produce ozone.Higher levels of ozone could negatively impact allergy symptoms if you or someone in your house hold suffers from asthma or allergies.
Furnace filter sizes/HVAC filter sizes/Common furnace filter sizes;
Furnace filters come in variety of different sizes,there are 3 letters to indicate the size of the furnace filters.The first two letters indicate the length of the height of the filter, the second two letters indicate the length of the furnace filter and the last 1 digit number indicates the thickness of the HVAC filter size.Most common furnace filter sizes are 16X25X1, 14X25X1, 16X25X5 and 14X25X5.
You could install a furnace filter of 16X25X1 in a 16X25X5 housing, one thing to remember is to never put more than 1 filter in a row as it will damage the HVAC system by restricting too much air flow.
How often should you change the furnace filters?
Installing a new furnace filter really depends on the condition of your household as well as the HVAC equipment, the type of furnace filter plays an important role as well, so every home is different.What is common is that a clogged furnace filter will restrict air flow to the furnace which will be detrimental to your heating equipment.A clogged furnace filter will cause the furnace to work harder by putting extra load on the heating unit.If you or someone in your house hold smokes cigarettes, given the furnace filter is 1 inch in thickness and the furnace filter is disposable you best to change the filter once a month.If you have a washable filter regardless of the thickness you best wash the furnace filter once a month.Always make sure to have a back up furnace filter so when the filter is drying up you have something to protect the blower motor at the bottom of your furnace.Remember that there should be a filter in your furnace at all times.To ensure when is the best time for you to install a disposable furnace filter is to visually inspect the furnace filter, if the color has changed from white to yellow (if you smoke indoors) or from white to black it is a good indication that you need to replace the furnace filter.
Please keep in mind to turn the furnace off from thermostat,then proceed to flip the safety switch (usually located on top of your furnace) to off position, this will ensure the electrical power will be disconnected to your heating equipment preventing you from getting hurt.
Another reason to have the furnace or AC off during a filter exchange is that if the blower motor at the bottom of your furnace is running, it will create a suction making it hard to pull the furnace filter out, it could also suck the furnace filter into the blower motor, it is not only a safety hazard it could also cost you a lot of money if you need to get the blower motor fixed or replaced by professionals.
How often should you wash the furnace filters?
Washable furnace filters are more expensive initially but you should look at it as an investment.Washable furnace filters come with a higher MERV rating providing better protection by removing more dust particles from the air you breathe.It is a good idea to wash the washable furnace filters once a month.It should not take you more than 5 minutes to wash the filter properly.Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the washable furnace filter to dry up before replacing it back into the heating system.Like we mentioned earlier make sure to have a back up filter if you are planning on running the machine while the filter is drying up.You should never leave the furnace or AC unit running with out a filter inside.
How to clean the washable furnace filter properly?
It is easy to clean the washable furnace filters and it should not take you more than 5 minutes to get the job done, specially if you are cleaning the filter monthly, If you have access to compressed air this will make the whole process so much easier, Take the washable filter out of your house to prevent dust from flying around your home, backyard or a driveway is a good place to do the cleaning.To avoid dust from flying around it is a good idea to vacuum the filter first to rid of any excessive dust, then blow the filter, keep in mind that washing the washable furnace filter before vacuuming and blowing it with compressed air is not a good idea as it will make it so much harder to take the dust off.After you are done blowing the washable furnace filter you can rinse it with hot water, and to make it clean of any bacteria you can spray a disinfectant to make sure the filter is clean and ready to serve your household, if you are planning on spraying the filter with a disinfecting agent be sure to pick a botanical one.Make sure it contains no chemicals and it is safe for you to spray on the filter.Vinegar is a good choice if you could bare with the odor.
How to put the furnace filters inside properly?
Inserting the furnace filter inside the filter housing is as important as choosing the right type of the furnace filter, whether you purchase a disposable filter, electronic air cleaner or washable furnace filter you have to ensure to install the filter in the right direction, if furnace filters are not installed properly they won`t be as efficient to remove the dust particles out of the air.In order to determine which way is the right way to install the furnace filter, look for an arrow.Underneath the arrow it says “air flow”, the arrow should always be facing the furnace, keep in mind that the cold air return will supply furnace with fresh air for combustion and circulation, so the air flow is always towards the furnace.
Air filter replacement is essential to your HVAC equipment, furnace air filter replacement should be on top of your HVAC to do list.
Add a pic: Which way to put the furnace filter inside properly or in which direction
- The size, type and material density are what determine a furnace filter’s performance. The number of particles passing through it also has an impact on the performance. With time the filters become clogged and lose their effectiveness. When this happens it is time to clean or replace the furnace filter.
- Occupants: If your home has many residents and especially smokers you should choose a high performance filter. Although they are more expensive, they eliminate more pollen, dust and other impurities in the air.
- Pets: Homes with pets require high-quality filters especially if any of the occupants have allergies. You can opt for pleated filters to alleviate the strain on your system. This design allows the filter to trap more particles and the filters can be replaced every few months compared to the normal filters which need to be replaced monthly.
- Ensure that the choice of filter is equipped to deal with the number of particles in your home. Too much dirt can make the system inefficient as it strains to work harder. This also causes wear and tear to occur faster. How to choose the right type of furnace filter is not as hard as it seems but you can get a professional to assist you if need be.
- Different systems require different types of furnace filters. Take out the manual and refer to it. You can also note down the dimensions if you are replacing the filter. Take the dimensions with you when you go to purchase a replacement. This will ensure you get the correct furnace filter. You should always use a filter that will eliminate the most contaminant with a minimal effect on air flow.
- Disposable filters: These are made of layered cotton, fiberglass, paper or polyester materials. The materials are enclosed in a frame which easily slides into the duct work. These can be used on most systems. They have a MERV rating of between 2-3.
- Adjustable Filters: These are available in different sizes and are commonly used for openings that are not standard.
- Washable Filters: These can be removed for cleaning. They require a lot of maintenance and are more efficient than disposable filters. They have a MERV rating of 1-4.
- Electrostatic filters: These attract small particles and trap them using static electricity. They are available in reusable and disposable models. They have a MERV rating of between 8 and 12.
Since 2010 Dust Chasers has been the leading air duct cleaning company in greater Toronto area.Call us today to find out how we can help you achieve your indoor air quality goals.Call us today toll free at 18556873878