It’s All About the Filters!

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We all have them and it’s one of those things we might just forget about. But we shouldn’t. Just what does the furnace filter do for our homes and why is it so important to change them? Our Front Porch Friday video discussed just that. At RDS, we know how important and necessary our furnace filters are to our homes, but do you know everything you need to know about these filtration devices?

What Does the Filter Do?

  • The main purpose is to protect the blower fan from dust and debris pulled in from the return duct.
  • The filter keeps the quality of the air you are breathing in cleaner.
  • It helps remove allergens from the air, which can, in turn, help your allergies.

 Why Do I Need to Replace or Clean It?

  • A clean filter promotes proper airflow.
  • Replacing the filter helps to maintain and extend the life of your furnace.
  • It helps reduce your monthly gas or electric bill because the furnace doesn’t have to work harder or longer.

 How Often Should It be Replaced?

  • The longer you go between replacements, the harder your furnace will have to work, so you need to know your furnace’s requirements. 
  • Every furnace is different, as is how it is being used in your homes, so it might take some trial and error to get the right balance of efficiency and cost for you.
  • This is dependent on the type of furnace you have, but twice a year at the very minimum. Most furnaces will need to have filters replaced every 30 - 90 days.
  • Inexpensive filters should be replaced monthly, but more often if you have pets or smokers.
  • Some furnace manufacturers suggest replacing the filter every 3 months, but it is important to check the filter monthly for blockage or build up.
  • An electrostatic filter, the type that is cleaned by removing it and running it through a cycle in the dishwasher, should be cleaned according to the owner’s manual.
  • If you don’t replace your high-efficiency filter when needed, it might end up costing you money!

 I Don’t Know What Size Filter or Kind I Have…Help!

  • Check for the size and kind on the side of your existing filter, or take the filter to a home improvement store and they can help you.
  • Not all filters can be purchased in a home improvement store, but can be found online or purchased through your furnace professional.
  • Not all filters are created equal and come in many styles, sizes, ratings, and price points:
  1. Filter Efficiency Ratings range from 1-16 (the MERV rating) with 8-11 very adequate for most homes. If you don’t see a MERV rating number, just remember that usually the higher the number rating assigned to your filter, the better filtration it has. Surprisingly, the highest rating and expensive filter might not always be the best choice.
  2. Some common styles include disposable fiberglass, disposable pleated (a popular option), disposable electrostatic, permanent electrostatic, and high-efficiency pleated.
  3. Filter thickness ranges from 1”- 4” and size varies with the type of furnace.

 What Else Should I Know? 

  • If you have severe allergy issues, you might want to get your vents professionally cleaned and then change the filters regularly.
  • Turn your furnace off when replacing the filter or working on your furnace.
  • If you notice dust and hair around the filter opening, vacuum it.
  • If your system gets heavy use in the summer and winter, you might need to replace the filters with more frequency.
  • Have your system checked yearly by a licensed professional. They will make sure the system is working properly, no gases are escaping, connections are secure, and you won’t wake up to a cold house one morning.
  • Keep the space around your furnace and all air returns clear of clutter, boxes, and furniture. This will help your furnace not only work more efficiently but keep you safer, reducing any risk of a house fire. 

 Check out our Front Porch Friday video here for Replacing Furnace Filters