Deciding on the Right Replacement Furnace Filter
Choosing the right residential air filter or furnace filter for your HVAC system can have many benefits. The right filter allows your heater or air conditioner to operate efficiently without placing undue stress on your system, while still providing the proper amount of filtering of dust, allergens and other airborne pollutants. Using the wrong filter for your needs can lead to increased energy and repair costs or a heating and cooling system that isn’t as effective as it should be.
It can often seem confusing for the average homeowner to understand which type of furnace filter is right for them. Go to a popular online site like Your Filter Connection and you’ll see a wide range of brands to choose from. Along with deciding between Honeywell or 3M air filters, you’ll also need to determine which size, performance rating and type of air filter is right for you.
Size: Generally speaking, you should be able to tell which size filter is right for your HVAC system by looking at the one that is currently installed. If one isn’t installed or you think that you have been using the wrong size, you can measure the size of the your furnace. Most commercial furnace filters are a “nominal” size, which means the size is rounded up to the nearest inch. When you install your replacement filter, make sure that it is snug enough to not allow excess air to flow out of the sides.
Filter Type: There are several different types of filters to choose from, and each individual filter type has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular filter types of commercial use:
– Polyester or Fiberglass: The lowest end filters are made from fiberglass or polyester. These are very inexpensive and will block large air particles like lint or pet hair. However, they are disposable and meant to be replaced frequently and will do little to help people with asthma or allergies.
– Electrostatic: You can find both disposable and permanent electrostatic filters; both do a better job of capturing fine particles in the air than disposable polyester or fiberglass filters. An electrostatic furnace filter features self-charging cotton fibers that act like magnets to attract fine particles and keep them from getting through the filter.
MERV Rating: Filters are rated on a scale of 1-16 to tell consumers how effective they are at trapping particles. For most residential settings, you won’t need a filter with a MERV rating higher than 12.