Furnaces are one of those essential comforts that we only notice when they are not functioning properly. Your furnace keeps you warm, and we fail to pay close attention to it — until the filter needs replacing. It is at that moment that you realize that maybe you don’t know enough about filters. What quality should you purchase? What size do you need? There are many questions that need answering before you purchase your new filter.
Why do you need a new filter?
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) devices typically require a filter. The filter protects the equipment from the buildup of particles on fan motors, cooling coils, or other vital parts. If the filter is clogged, airflow is inhibited and the device has to Work harder. Once you have decided to replace your filter, you now have to figure out exactly which filter you need.
Higher MERV ratings are not always better .
The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) is used to rate the size of particles that filters remove. Generally, the higher the rating, the smaller the particles filtered. The problem with higher-rated filters is that they force the equipment to work harder. Unless you are installing the filter for a device in a room of exceptional particle restriction, you do not need a filter with a MERV rating higher than 8. Anything less than a hospital in cleanliness requirements shouldn’t use filters of ratings more than 12. This bit of information can save you a lot of cash and frustration.
Some filters may be reusable, and they can be electrostatic for greater particle removal.
If you do not want to have to purchase a new filter every few months, a reusable (also called washable) filter is what you want. These filters can be vacuumed off, then washed, and reinstalled into the machine. For those of you who do not care for reusability, a disposable pleated filter is likely what you want. They are available in many ratings and sizes, and are the type that most people will require. If you are not so focused on quality then a lower cost disposable fiberglass filter might do the job for you.. although it will need to be replaced sooner. Filters can also be electrostatic (even the Washable ones). Electrostatic filters are charged as air passes through them, pulling in and trapping small particles as they go through, improving the air quality on output.
Thinner filters must be replaced sooner.
Filters generally range from 1″ to 5″ in thickness, but you shouldn’t just choose any thickness without thinking. Thinner filters require more frequent replacement, with a 1″ filter needing replacement every month, while a 5″ filter can last up to six months.
Filters have different sizes.
Do you know the size of your filter? This is probably the most important bit of information you must have before replacing it. Filters range from 10’x10″, to 30″x30″, with various height and width combinations in between. You can typically find the dimensions of your filter on the frame of your old filter.
Without understanding filters, you can run into many problems when purchasing a new one. Make sure that you learn about filters — specifically your filter — before purchasing. To make sure that you don’t run into problems when purchasing a filter, read more about FilterBuy.