Modern Furnace Filters
Furnace filters are made to block dirt, dust, microscopic insects, particles and allergens to keep the air in your home clean and and its occupants healthy. It is important that it is properly matched to the type of furnace you have and how often you wish to replace the filter. You may also wish to get a filter that can be cleaned instead of the disposable ones. This saves on money and materials. Whatever your choice, a furnace will always run more efficiently when the furnace air filter is kept clean. This allows the filter to do its job of trapping airborne particles that cause allergies so that indoor air quality is maintained.
Washable Furnace Filters
A reusable air filter is generally cleaned once a month for a furnace that you run everyday. You can simply use a garden hose with an attachment that allows the water to be sprayed which will remove the accumulated dust. It is important for indoor air quality to be rigorously maintained. It is the air we breathe whether we're in main living areas, the basement, or even the attic. often times we store items in these rooms in boxes and don't realize the great amount of dust given off whenever we open a box or move a box. These particulates become airborne and will also become trapped in our air filter if it is working correctly. You will be surprised to see the amount of accumulation over a month when you clean the filter yourself.
In the image above check out the filth that has accumulated on this old filter to the left. Its a standard disposable matted fiberglass panel filter and it's about to be replaced with a brand new panel with a pleated filter by 3m from their Filtrete Line of Filters.
Benefits of Pleated Filters
Pleated and/or folded filters are panel filters that are accordion shaped to increase the effective surface area for better capture of particles. These typically capture more and smaller particles than either regular fiberglass or even the filters that are washable. However pleated filters are still ineffective at capturing micro allergens such as dust mites, dust mite fecal matter, animal dander, mold, and pollen. Some pleated filters have electrostatically charged fibers for capturing pollutants that have either a positive or negative charge. These particles would normally pass through a filter that does not have this feature.
Standard Furnace Filters
The standard 1″ disposable fiberglass filter is the most widely used in most modern homes. While these filters meet government standards they cannnot be cleaned and used again. they must be disposed of. The honeywell furnace filters are 4" and they absorb up to 50 times more dust and particuletas than the regular one inch furnace filters in most homes. Monthly rinsing is all that is required to keep these filters in functioning order and can easily last a year or more. This filter will do a far better job of maintaining the air quality in your home keeping the air dust and allergen free.
Save Energy With Clean Furnace Filters
What a difference a furnace air filter will make. It will decrease your energy bills and stave off costly repair work as it increases the heating and cooling efficiency of your HVAC unit. It also adds to the life of the appliance when periodic maintenance on the furnace filter is regularly performed. Without proper furnace filter maintenance a small problem can easily develop into a major one and repairing HVAC units whether the heating portion, the air conditioning portion or the condenser unit. Make sure you change your filters as required by your furnace manufacturer.
A furnace filter can easily vary your energy bill by up to 15%. So should you go for a "high efficiency air filter. High performance or high efficiency in air filters generally refers to the increased amount of particulates captured by the filter and not the improved circulation of air through the filtration system. So a high efficiency filter will actually lower the air flow of your furnace by causing a higher restriction in the air flow which results in more wear and tear on your heating and cooling system which will lead to more cost and maintenance. Furnaces are designed to run at their highest operating temperature with a standard one inch filter with minimum impediment to air flow so that they may run continuously. Once you add a restriction by using a "high efficiency" filter, the HVAC will have to cycle on and off so that the system does not overheat due to the lack of airflow. If you need the better particulate capture of these thicker filters then you might be better off with an electrostatic air filtration system or a completely isolated HEPA filtration system that won't interfere with the current HVAC workings.
3M furnace filters and Aprilaire furnace filters are two well known manufacturers. Apart from the brand of filter there are types of filters. There are simple disposable panel filters that are made of spun fiberglass in a cardboard frame. These run anywhere between $5 and $25 and can be purchased in bulk at lower prices. Their purpose is to protect the fan blower in your furnace or air conditioner unit from debris and not necessarily to improve indoor air quality. The spun fiberglass in these simple panel filters are not fine enough nor dense enough to remove contaminants from the air.
There are many online stores that sell filters from these well known manufacturers so check around for bulk pricing if you're getting the disposable filters.
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