How to Find the Right Furnace Filter

When the seasons change it can be time to button up or tend to the garden but most people don’t think about the quality of air in their home!

Photo: Virtual Studio Innovations

And when the seasons change is the perfect time to change your home’s air filters. But, we recommend not just choosing the first discount filter you see at Walmart.

There are some considerations that need to be put into replacing furnace filters. Sure there are plenty of options, but the decision is not as simple as spending your cash on the first one you see. A lot of furnace filters are available on the market, and each type serves a specific purpose. They also have different levels of efficiency when it comes to filtering out pollutants, dust, and dirt from your heat, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Quality does not come cheap, so you want to make sure that you get the right furnace filter for your humble abode. Read on to know more about the different types of furnace filters:

Pleated Disposable Filter

Pleated disposable filters are the most common type of furnace filters. These have natural or man-made fibers with mesh exteriors that are in charge of trapping large particles. Pleated disposable filters are ideal for people with allergies because they can trap dust, allergens, and other dangerous air particulates. These are also very affordable, only need to be replaced every 90 days or so and some shops have hundreds of different HVAC filter sizes.

Pleated disposable furnace filters also have various efficiency ratings so check what your HVAC system needs before you buy because too low an efficiency could negatively impact your health and too high an efficiency may not be right for your furnace and could result in damage to the motor.

Electrostatic Filter

An Electrostatic filter has electrically charged fine strands of polyester. This attracts fine air particulates by using static electricity. The downside to having this kind of filter is that the electrostatic filters are not able to pick up larger air particulates – an issue that mechanical filters don’t have. There’s no need to replace Electrostatic filters, provided that they are manually cleaned at least once every three months.

To clean this type of furnace filter, you just have to remove it, spray it with water, and leave it in a shaded place to air-dry. You may use detergents and other cleaning solutions if there are exceptional amounts of debris and dirt.

Electronic Furnace Filter

Unlike the Electrostatic filter and the Pleated filter, the Electronic filter does not use fibers to capture air particulates. Instead, it attracts these air particulates by using an electronic grid of wires located all throughout the filter. These are the most efficient out of all the furnace filters and they need to be cleaned often. The key to cleaning this type of filter is using a strong cleaning solution that will not damage the metal component. Spray or scrub down the dishwasher to remove all the air and dust particles that are stuck inside.

HEPA Filter

The High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter can catch approximately 99% of potential pollutants that are present in the air. Unfortunately most HVAC systems are not compatible with HEPA filters. The blower motor lacks the force required to let the air pass through the dense filters. This can result to an air blockage, which will lead to damage and pricey repairs. Given this, it is best to check the manufacturer of your HVAC system before buying a HEPA filter.

The standard when it comes to cleaning out air quality particulates at home is the dleated disposable filter. These are affordable, convenient, and very easy to clean. Other types of furnace filters also do an excellent job at cleaning out air particulates, but you need to check with your HVAC system manufacturer first to check compatibility.

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