A furnace filter is one of the essential parts of your heating and cooling systems maintenance. It helps keep unwanted particles out of your air that could harm you. This includes allergens, dirt, pet dander, and even airborne bacteria. A clean filter also helps extend the life of your furnace.
Choosing the wrong filter can cause several issues. A furnace filter that is too small will be unable to do its job correctly, or it may clog, block the airflow, and cause your system to overheat and burn out. A filter that is too large will not fit securely into your furnace and leave gaps, allowing unfiltered air to enter the system.
Here are six things to consider when searching for the right furnace filter for your system.
1. Type of HVAC Unit
It is crucial to select the right filter based on the kind of system you have. Manufacturers may recommend a particular type or brand that works well with your system.
Consult your owner’s manual for instructions or remove the existing filter and check for markings that indicate the type of filter that’s currently in use. However, just because it’s in use now, doesn’t mean it’s your best choice.
2. Choose the Right Size
Look at how the current filter sits in the frame. If there are no gaps or bends, it’s a good fit. Measure the filter before you go to your local home goods store. The dimensions may also be printed on the filter.
If there is no filter, measure the frame or consult the owner’s manual. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, you can typically find the manufacturer online, and that website most likely has free downloadable manuals.
A good-fitting filter will help keep the air cleaner, which is something that all homeowners appreciate.
3. Presence of Pets
Having a pet is quite fulfilling, but it can be a pain when trying to keep their hair out of your HVAC system. Pets can shed and leave behind hair and dander that can cause allergies in people.
Fortunately, there are furnace filters that can filter pet hair and dander. Filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) that ranks filtering abilities on a scale from 1 to 20. The higher the MERV value, the more expensive the filter. MERV ratings from 8 to 13 should trap most of the dander. Pet dander is among the leading causes of allergies for people, so purchasing a filter in this higher range ensures that you and your family remain healthier all year long.
4. Type of Filters
Disposable furnace filters are the most popular choice among homeowners. It only takes a couple of minutes to pull out the old filter and insert a new one. They cost less upfront, but you may have to purchase a new filter every month, depending on the environment in your home. The number of contaminants in the air will determine the frequency of replacement.
Disposable filters are made from a variety of materials, including layers of cotton, paper, polyester, and fiberglass. Fiberglass is the least expensive and is rated as MERV 2 to 3. A pleated disposable filter has a larger surface area, so it can trap more particles. This type has a MERV rank from 6 to 12.
Washable filters are less convenient but more economical in the long run. Do you want to spend 15 minutes spraying it in the kitchen sink or backyard hose? They might last for years, but their design doesn’t make them a very efficient choice. They are made from a woven polypropylene electrostatic media that attracts large particles. They have a MERV ranking of 1 to 4, which is insufficient to trap dander and many other airborne pollutants.
5. The Climate in Your Region
It would be best to consider your climate when purchasing a furnace filter. For instance, if you live in a region with a lot of pollution or dust, it pays to get a filter that can trap the particles and protect you. In this case, you’ll want a filter with a MERV rating from 8 to 13. MERV 8 is the standard filter for residential homes.
If there are seasons when particulates are more prevalent, such as the summer months when there is more pollen in the air and smoke from wildfires, it is essential to get a filter that can handle those times. MERV 13 is the highest rating that many residential systems are equipped to handle. This is recommended for areas with a high level of pollutants.
And if you live in a location with a lot of rain and humidity, look for a filter that can help remove water from the air and trap other particles like bacteria. A high-quality furnace filter will help ensure that your home is kept at the optimal temperature and humidity.
On the other hand, if you have a humidifier connected to your heating and cooling system, you must replace your filter more often. Humidifiers trap moisture in the air, which can cause mildew and mold to form on the furnace filter.
If this happens, it can cause the system to fail or even put you at risk of respiratory problems. Always check your home’s air quality and get the correct type of furnace filter for your system.
Filters with a MERV rating between 13 to 16 are considered hospital-grade and are the best choice for filtering out bacteria. However, as previously mentioned, MERV 13 may be the highest rating that fits your system. Check your owner’s handbook for more information.
When the air in your home is at the correct temperature and humidity level, your HVAC unit will not overwork itself trying to cool or heat it to an ideal level. Contact BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair for specific advice regarding filters, health issues, and what’s the best fit for your HVAC system.
An occupant’s needs greatly affect what type of filter you should use. If you have no pets and all the residents are healthy, a MERV 4 might suffice.
If you suffer from certain conditions like allergies or asthma, you will want to look for a higher-rated filter that is more suitable for you. This will help remove allergens and irritants from the air, helping your system work more effectively and allowing you to breathe easier.
Now that you know what to look for in a furnace filter, you can choose the right one for your home. Your HVAC system will run more effectively, your air quality will improve, and you can rest easy knowing your air quality is at its best.
We encourage you to contact us if you need help choosing the right filter. We are experts in air quality services and air conditioning and heating repairs, installation, and maintenance, as well as air duct installation, sealing, and cleaning. Our plumbing services include water heater repair and installation, drain cleaning, and repairing water, gas, and sewer lines.
Contact BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair for all your HVAC, plumbing, and air quality needs in Las Vegas and surrounding areas.