Clean Furnace Filters Are a Must This Winter
Furnace Filter Maintenance Is Great for Your Budget and Health
What’s the simplest thing you can do to make sure your furnace runs efficiently this winter, costs little to operate, and doesn’t break down? Always have a clean furnace air filter! Dirt, dust and debris easily accumulate in your furnace. This can impede moving parts and block airflow — the leading causes of furnace inefficiency and damage. It can also serve as a breeding ground and launching pad for pollen, bacteria, fungi, allergens and other airborne particles that can seriously affect your health and well-being.
Furnace filters not only increase your heating system’s productivity by blocking dirt and dust, they screen out unwanted airborne agents. By regularly cleaning or replacing your furnace filters, you can maintain clean, healthy indoor air quality. Furnace filter cleaning or replacement also keeps the your heating system running at peak efficiency AND prolongs its lifespan.
The Horizon Comfort Zone recommends that inspect your furnace filters monthly to see if they need cleaning or replacement. In fact, you should check even more frequently during times when your heating system is being used continuously. If you see dirt or dust accumulation on your furnace filter, clean it or replace with a new one (available at most home and hardware stores). If you don’t clean or replace your furnace filter, your heating system will have to work extra hard this winter– and this will reduce furnace performance and increase your utility bills.
How to Clean or Replace Your Furnace Filter
First, turn off your furnace and locate the service panel. You should be able to remove the panels by hand or with a screwdriver.
Locate the furnace filter near the intake-outtake blower and check the level of dust accumulation. If you have trouble seeing through, then it needs to be cleaned or replaced.
If you have a reusable furnace filter, then simply rinse away the dust particles in your sink or with a hose. Allow the furnace filter to dry and put it back in place.
If you have a disposable furnace filter, dispose of the the dirty one; buy and replace with a fresh furnace filter.
Types of Furnace Filters
Furnace filters are either disposable (with cardboard frames) or reusable (with fiberglass or metal framing). Disposable furnace filters cost less per filter, but require monthly replacement; thus it’s always a good idea to have several on hand to last you throughout the year. Reusuable furnace filters are more cost-effective but require more time and elbow grease because you must manually clean them on a regular basis.
All furnace filters come with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Report Value) Rating. The MERV rating tells you furnace filter’s capability in trapping particles and helps you compare the performance of different filters. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration performance.
Here’s an overview of the different types of furnace filters that are available on the market:
Mechanical Furnace Filters: These are the most commonly used furnace filters. They are basically a net of dry, man-made or natural fibers that simply captures particles in its meshing. Most mechanical furnace filters are disposable, but some can be reused if cleaned regularly. They are not as effective for smaller particles or for homes with allergy sufferers. But for most homeowners and if you don’t mind replacing them each month, they’re both efficient and inexpensive.
Electrostatic Furnace Filters: These furnace filters consist of polyester strands which become charged with static electricity as air flows through them. This static electricity attracts more dust and pollens to the filter; thus, these filters have a slightly higher MERV rating than mechanical furnace filters. Most electrostatic furnace filters are bound to a metal frame They usually do not need replacing and can often go up to three months without cleaning.
Electronic Furnace Filters: Unlike traditional filters which have actual fibers or other material to trap dust and debris, these specialized filters use a grid of electrically charged wires that attract particles. In fact, electronic furnace filters are so efficient that within a few days their MERV rating may actually plummet due to excess dust buildup. Thus, if you are thinking of using an electronic furnace filter, keep in mind that it needs to be cleaned at least once a week.
HEPA Furnace Filters: HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particle Absorber. This is the most efficient of all furnace filters. It has no MERV rating because it actually exceeds MERV requirements. HEPA furnace filters have a 99% efficiency testing which is considered exceptional for filtration. However, HEPA furnace filters are more expensive than all other furnace filters. Because of their superior filtration, these furnace filters tend to only be used in high-sanitary commercial environments, such as hospitals, laboratories, and surgical facilities; it’s very rare to find them residential homes. WARNING: If you decide to look for a HEPA furnace filter, read the labels carefully; there are quite a few imitation brands out in the marketplace that claim to be but may not be true HEPA products.
The Bottom Line on Furnace Filters
Cleaning or replacing your furnace filter only takes a few extra minutes or a few extra bucks each month. Trust us…it’s well worth the time and money. If you have questions about which kind of f
Contact Horizon Services
If you would like to schedule an appointment for a Precision Tune-Up on your HVAC unit, please setup an appointment. And, if you are ready to install or replace a heating and air conditioning system our friendly and experienced team of Comfort Specialists can help. They’ll take the time to study your home, understand your requirements, show you all of your options and assist you with finding the quality home comfort system that best meets your family’s needs and budget.