If you’re a homeowner, chances are you’ve heard about the importance of changing your furnace filter regularly. But do you know why it’s so important, or how to choose the right filter for your home? In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of furnace filters, and why they matter.
What is a furnace filter?
First things first: what is a furnace filter, and what does it do? Essentially, a furnace filter is a device that traps dust, dirt, and other particles from the air as it passes through your HVAC system. This helps keep your indoor air cleaner and healthier to breathe. Without a filter in place, these contaminants can build up on your HVAC system’s components, leading to reduced efficiency and increased wear and tear over time.
Furnace filters come in a range of sizes to fit different HVAC systems. The most common sizes are 14”x25”, 16”x20”, 16”x25”, 20”x20”, 20”x25”, 24”x24”, and 25”x25”. You can get a 20x20x5 furnace filter here.
These are the standard sizes, but depending on the size and kind of your HVAC system, there are many different sizes available. It’s important to measure your current filter to ensure you get the right size. You can also consult your HVAC system’s owner’s manual or a professional to establish the proper filter size for your system.
Furthermore, some manufacturers provide custom-sized filters that can be manufactured to accommodate non-standard HVAC systems. These custom filters are more expensive, but they provide better filtering and may be worth the price if your system is unique.
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Types of filters
When choosing a furnace filter for your home, there are several types of filters available with varying levels of filtration efficiency:
Fiberglass filters are the most basic type of disposable filter. They’re inexpensive but only capture larger particles like dust and lint and must be replaced frequently.
Pleated filters are made from polyester or cotton paper and have more surface area than fiberglass filters. They capture smaller particles like pollen and mold spores. Pleated filters are more expensive than fiberglass filters but may only need to be replaced every 3-6 months.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are some of the most efficient filters available. They can capture tiny particles like smoke and bacteria but are often more expensive than other types.
Washable/reusable filters are an eco-friendly option that can be washed clean with water instead of being thrown away after use.
Why do you need to regularly change your furnace filter?
So why do you need to change your furnace filter regularly? Simply put, as the filter captures more particles from the air, it becomes clogged with debris. Over time, this reduces airflow through your HVAC system, making it work harder to heat or cool your home. This not only reduces its efficiency but also increases energy costs. Additionally, a dirty or clogged filter can’t trap new particles effectively, meaning they continue to circulate in your home’s air supply.
How often should you change your filter?
But how often should you change your furnace filter? The answer depends on several factors: the type of filter you use; how often you run your HVAC system; whether you have pets or live in a dusty area; and whether anyone in your household has allergies or other respiratory issues. As a general rule of thumb, most experts recommend changing standard 1-3 inch filters every 1-3 months (depending on usage), while high-efficiency filters may last up to 6 months or longer.
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Factors to consider when choosing a filter
The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of a furnace filter reflects how well the filter can trap tiny particles. The greater the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing small particles, but the higher the cost.
There are several types of furnace filters available, including fiberglass, pleated, HEPA, and washable filters. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the filter that best suits your needs and budget.
Allergies and Health Concerns
If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies or respiratory issues, it may be worthwhile to invest in a filter with a higher efficiency rating to enhance indoor air quality.
Certain furnace filters are constructed from materials that are more sustainable or environmentally friendly, and this may be something that is essential to you if you are trying to limit the amount of carbon that you leave behind.
What to do with used filters?
To avoid environmental contamination, used furnace filters should be properly disposed of. Here are several options for getting rid of used filters:
Check your local recycling regulations: Some communities recycle used furnace filters. Check with your local waste management organization to see if they have any rules regarding the disposal of used filters.
Trash: If your local recycling program does not accept used furnace filters, they should be thrown away. To prevent dust and debris from spreading, cover the used filter in a plastic bag or wrap it in paper.
Composting is an option with some fiberglass filters. Check with the filter maker to see if your filter is compostable and how to dispose of it correctly.
Donating: Some organizations, such as animal shelters and community centers, will take clean used filters for use in their facilities.
Certain filters, such as electrostatic and HEPA filters, may contain hazardous elements such as mercury and should be disposed of in accordance with local standards. To protect yourself and the environment, make sure you follow all applicable rules and regulations while disposing of used filters.
Homeowners should consider factors such as filter efficiency and specific health conditions present within their households before choosing which type of furnace filter best suits their individual needs. Regularly replacing furnace filters is vital for maintaining good indoor air quality and protecting heating/cooling systems from damage caused by clogs due to dirty or faulty filtration systems. Additionally, proper disposal of used filters can help prevent environmental contamination, protect your HVAC system, and ensure the proper disposal of hazardous materials.