You’ve likely had troubles in the past determining the best filter for your furnace. You may have chosen a brand that was easily available locally or have used a recommendation from a friend or family member. While your current choice of filter may work to a degree, it might not be the best option for your household. Keep these key factors in mind to improve your next furnace filter purchase.
Check Manufacturer Recommendations
Your furnace’s manual is a wealth of knowledge that can help you years after you purchase the system. Stay up to date on your warranty and recommended maintenance guidelines, and pay attention about when you should generally replace parts. You can also find information about the best furnace filter for the system. The manufacturer regularly tests furnace filters from different brands and materials to find the best options.
These suggestions give you a great starting place to begin your research. You don’t have to exactly follow the recommendations, but you should consider what the suggested brands have in common. Factoring in the best options for the efficiency of your furnace and the needs of your household will grant you the ideal furnace filter.
Consider Your Household’s Needs
There’s no firm rule that determines the best filter for every family. Filters come in different sizes and materials to fit a variety of gas and electric furnaces. They also have different MERV ratings and thicknesses to protect the home from contaminants in the air. Your home likely has a different ideal filter than your parents or your neighbors.
Begin your search by determining the health needs of your family members. Choose safer filters if you have young children, elderly people, or sick family members who need better air quality to stay healthy. Consider using air purifiers in specific rooms to maintain a more personalized air quality when needed. Determine how many pets are in the house and the best option for your furnace’s efficiency. The health of your home may require more expensive options and thorough planning to keep everyone safe and secure.
Choose Reusable or Disposable
Disposable filters are the most common choice for many households. They’re easy to find and often don’t cost much. You may need to change them out every couple of months, but they keep the home’s air quality manageable. While disposable filters may be the only option you’ve ever used, reusable filters could be a revolutionary discovery for your home.
Many reusable filters use electrostatic energy to remove contaminants from the air. They’re a little less effective than disposable options but can save you money each month if you don’t have special air quality needs. Many reusable filters can last up to five years. You can wash them out in a sink or with a hose every month and then put them back in place. They’re more environmentally friendly and work well to filter the air.
Always thoroughly research any new filter you come across and make sure it’s compatible with your furnace. Many older furnaces won’t be able to handle stronger filters and may experience overloads or shutdowns. Fully understand your maintenance responsibilities and the potential consequences if the filter isn’t regularly cleaned. Contact a professional for more information about reusable or permanent furnace filter options.
Decide Filter Efficiency
You’ve likely seen a MERV rating on your filters in the past. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating characterizes how effective the filter is at removing particles from the air. The rating scale goes from one to 20 with many residential homes using filters between eight and 16.
Higher ratings are more effective at collecting microscopic allergens and dust particles that can upset sensitive family members. Filters with a MERV rating higher than 16 are often used in sterile, clinical settings like hospitals and manufacturing sites. Your residential furnace won’t be able to efficiently use filters that have too high of a rating as they’ll likely block air from entering the system.
You may also see HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters. This is a dense, high-quality filter that catches an astounding number of particulates from the air. They’re made by interweaving thousands of layers of fiberglass, polyester, or paper to create a surface that catches 99.7% of all airborne contaminants. However, HEPA filters are often too dense to be used in many residential furnaces as they can obstruct airflow. If you’re interested in improving the air quality in your home to nearly perfect, contact a professional to determine how you can use HEPA filters safely without straining your furnace system.
Learn About Material Options
Along with considering the MERV rating and HEPA status, make sure you know the common types of materials used in furnace filters when looking for filter options. Fiberglass filters are the most common as they are easily accessible and inexpensive. These filters easily catch dust and other large particulates but won’t be able to filter out smaller contaminants. Fiberglass filters work well for healthy families who have only one or two pets and no serious health concerns.
Pleated filters use folded material to create an accordion shape. They’re often made with paper or polyester and can be found in both reusable and disposable options. Pleated filters have an increased surface area because of the folds, enabling them to capture dirt, dander, hair, and dust mites more easily. This is a higher quality option than fiberglass filters and is often more expensive. Consider looking for pleated filter options if you have vulnerable family members who need higher air quality.
Rely on Professional Installation
Choosing the right option can be difficult when faced with so many choices. You may want to opt for a more expensive, denser filter that guarantees pristine air quality but that isn’t too thick for your older furnace. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your home’s heating system. Rely on a professional technician for expert advice and recommendations.
Technicians have years of experience in the field, appraising furnaces and changing filters. They also likely have contacts in the area and know the best locally available brands. They can give you excellent information about furnace filters based on your health needs, budget, and furnace model. Your family deserves a safe and healthy home that meets their air quality needs. Find your home’s perfect balance by relying on professional advice and regular maintenance.
Dedicated HVAC Company in Wichita
Call Fahnestock HVAC for all your plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling needs in Wichita, KS and the surrounding areas. We’re a family-oriented company that’s been a household name for decades. All our technicians are highly certified and are ready to provide expert service and complete customer satisfaction. Set up a maintenance plan with us for your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner that keeps your home safe and comfortable. We can also repair or replace damaged wiring, install new electrical fixtures, and help your home with everyday plumbing issues.
We strive to tailor our expert work to meet your individual needs. Call Fahnestock HVAC now to schedule an appointment for comprehensive and quality service.