Although you might think that all furnace filters are the same, this could not be further from the truth. There are many different types of filters available, so you will have some choices based on your personal preferences. It is very important that you have a high quality filter in your house, since the air inside your home is up to five times more polluted than the air outside. The furnace can spread tiny dust particles all over your home if you do not have a good filter, so it’s well worth investing in one that will do the job the right way.
The most common type of filter is a panel filter. These furnace filters are made from fiberglass and are about one inch thick. The main problem with this type of filter is that it only traps larger dust particles. This leaves the smaller dust particles to float up your vents and into your home, which can cause some problems. Those with allergy problems might find panel filters particularly flawed.
Pleated Air Filters
Pleated versions are similar to the panel models, except for the pleats increase the available surface area. This means that although a pleated filter is the same length and width as a panel filter, it is better at trapping dust because it covers a greater overall area. These filters must be replaced regularly, as they tend to restrict airflow once they have trapped a large amount of dust. Generally, your pleated filter should be replaced every six months.
High Efficiency Filters
If you go with a pleated filter that has a high efficiency sticker, it means that the filter gives off an electrostatic charge, allowing it to capture even smaller particles of dust and allergens. In fact, these high efficiency furnace filters capture about 99 percent of all particles, which should leave your home clear of most of these issues. Once again, these filters have to be changed regularly, since they do not let much air through once they are full of dust.
The top of the line in the air filter industry is the HEPA filter, as they can remove sub-micron particles from the air. In addition, HEPA filters come with corrugated separators, which allow air to pass through, even when they are dirty. The main issue with HEPA filters is that they do not fit many standard furnaces, as they usually run off a separate system.
If you are concerned about the money involved with having to constantly replace your filters, you might want to invest in a washable or reusable model. These filters are meant to be reused for years, especially if you clean them regularly. The main issue is that they almost never come completely clean, so you will always have some restricted airflow that will worsen as the filter gets older.
R.A. Heating and Air Conditioning is a fully licensed, bonded and insured HVAC company that has served Wisconsin since 1980.
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