Things To Know About Furnace Filters

furnace filter

It’s that time of year when you remember that, maybe, you should change your furnace filter. Which, yes, if you haven’t done it in a while then it’s probably a good idea. A clean filter doesn’t just help keep the air within your home cleaner, it also helps keep your HVAC system running efficiently by preventing dirt and debris from getting into the system. A dirty filter can restrict the airflow to the system which can cause the furnace to overheat and shut down, and can cause your air conditioner coils to freeze up. Which can lead to preventable service repair calls.

That last thought may lead you to ask… Does changing the filter regularly cut down on service calls?

Yes, and no. Allowing your furnace filter to get extremely dirty and clogged can cause issues that will lead to breakdowns, which would cause service calls for repairs. This would be the YES part of that answer.

But, annual preventative maintenance is always important for your furnace, so NO, simply changing your filter isn’t enough. You will still need regular check-ups.

Here are a few other things to know about furnace filters:

  • MERV - When you see the MERV rating on a filter do you know what it means? Just in case you don’t, it means minimum efficiency reporting value and it has a range of 1 to 20. You may assume that you should just go for the 20 for maximum filtration. But, that is not necessarily the case. The MERV rating measures the air quality and not the air flow to the blower. That means that a high MERV rating may keep more dust particles out of your air; it will also restrict too much airflow for the furnace to work efficiently. Also, the higher the filtration number the more often the filters need to be replaced because they are catching more dirt. Generally speaking, a MERV rating between 8-12 is all you need. Only if you, or someone in your household, suffers from severe allergies or low-immunity issues should you need to go above 12.
  • How often should you change the filter? - You hear all sorts of recommendations for changing your filters, from every month to twice a year. But, you only need to change it when it’s dirty. A general rule of thumb is to check it monthly, you can compare it to a new clean filter or hold it up to the light to determine if it’s time to replace it.
  • Disposable vs Washable - If you are committed to being eco-friendly then you may be considering washable filters, but there are things you need to accept about them. Washable filters are expensive at around $100, they are difficult to actually get clean, and their MERV rating is between 1 and 4. Disposable filters offer higher filtration rates and they are more convenient to replace.
  • Fiberglass vs Pleated Paper - Fiberglass filters are much cheaper than pleated filters, but they also have lower MERV ratings and they don’t capture the finer dust and dirt particles. This can lead to lower air quality and more debris getting into your system. Also, the fiberglass filters have less surface area than the pleated so they should be replaced more often.

Pleated filters may have a higher initial cost but they last longer and offer better air quality.

If you still have questions about which filter might be right for you here’s an informative article.

And, of course, we are always available to help steer you in the right direction. Just call (910) 390-1742.