Did you know that changing the furnace filter is one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase heating efficiency in your home?

Furnace filters are designed to trap nuisances such as pet hair, dust and other particles before they get into the heating system and cause damage.

How Does it Work?

The air in your home is pulled into the return ductwork by your heating system’s blower fan to be heated by the furnace heat exchange. The filter, which is placed in the return ductwork, collects all the air pulled through the system before it comes in contact with components of the HVAC system.

The more expensive the filter, the better the quality and ability of trapping further bacteria, mildew and even mold spores. Furnace filters are the first line of of defense against allergens.That’s why it’s important to purchase the best filter possible.

It is recommended that furnace filters be changed every two to four months. Not just any filter will do, you need to know MERV.

What’s MERV?

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) displays the effectiveness of an air filter. The efficiency rating ranges from 1 to 16. The higher the rating, means fewer dust particles are able to penetrate the filter. Residential furnace systems commonly have anywhere between a 6-12 MERV filter, while hospitals have a MERV furnace filter between 13-16.

Washable or Disposable?

There are two kinds of furnace filters you can choose from: washable and disposable. Both have their pros and cons. Obviously, a washable filter can be reused time and time again. That’s not the case with a disposable filter. Even though you’re not purchasing a new filter every few months, washable filters do have their drawbacks.

Unlike, disposable filters that have a high MERV rating, washable filters typically have a MERV score between 1-4.  Washable filters also take a long time to dry and are prone to mold. If your filter is still damp when you place it back in your HVAC system, spores can blow throughout your home.

Changing a Furnace Filter

It’s vital to place the furnace filter correctly into the heating system. If it’s not inserted correctly, airflow will be impeded and it will put strain on the motor. Before replacing the furnace filter, remember to first turn the furnace off.

  • Locate the filter air box. An air filter is most commonly located in the blower compartment of the furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a wall-mounted return air grille.
  • Pull out the old filter and throw it away.
  • The new filter should have airflow arrows along its sides. These arrows should always point toward the furnace.
  • Slide the filter into the air box with the arrows pointing toward the furnace. Once in, properly close the air box.