The primary mission of furnaces air filters is to maintain the health of the furnace. Today folks also expect furnace filters to help maintain our health. They are not a complete solution to indoor air quality because your furnace fan should run only about 20% of the time.
For a furnace filter to be effective in cleaning household air the furnace fan would have to run all the time. That would require a very expensive amount of electrical energy.
A clean filter saves you money by keeping the furnace parts clean and functioning efficiently. A dirty filter makes the fan work harder and slows the flow of warm air into the house. That results in the furnace running longer to heat the house. Making you pay more for fuel and electrical power.
Cleaning or replacing the filter is important and easy to do. Check your filter every month during the heating season. Replace it if it looks plugged. Replace it every three months anyway to stop mold growing on it. Bring a plastic trash bag to the furnace and put the dirty filter directly into it. Do not carry an un-bagged dirty filter through your house. If your furnace has washable filters follow the same schedule. Check it monthly and wash it every 3 months whether it looks dirty or not.
A replaceable pleated filter with a MERV rating of 7 is a good choice for home use. Pleated filters provide more surface area so they don’t choke the air flow and they trap fairly small dust.
The MERV rating number indicates the size of particles it will trap out of the air. A higher number means it will trap smaller dust.
Metal frame washable filters and flat face filters generally only trap the biggest stuff floating in the air. Check with an expert before putting a filter on that has a MERV number bigger than 7. It may cause your furnace to work poorly or over heat.
At work, the air is filtered continuously because the roof top heating system fans run all the time. We can breathe easy because the filters are replaced frequently as part of the preventive maintenance program. Regular replacement of the filters saves energy and promotes good indoor air quality.
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