The decision that a homeowner has when it comes to selecting an air filter for their home is important and can impact the performance of your air system or furnace. Similarly, staying up-to-date on changing your air filter as needed can also leave a lasting effect on how your furnace works and the overall life of the furnace or air handling system in the future. Therefore, it has become necessary that you do your due diligence on finding the best air filter for your home’s furnace or air handling system.
In this article we are going to discuss more about what a furnace filter is, how often to replace it in your furnace, and what is the best air filter to place in your home’s furnace system or air handling system.
What is a Furnace Filter
A furnace filter is a protective shield that is placed inside of your home’s furnace system to act as a barrier to contribute to clean indoor air and to help protect the furnace itself from a build-up of airborne pollutants that can potentially damage the system over time. This furnace filter is designed to fit perfectly inside of your furnace system to capture and trap most of the airborne debris and pollutants from accumulating within the air system. However, not every type of filter works to the same efficiency standards, and thus that is why the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers have created a rating system for each filter type. This MERV rating created gives a clear insight to consumers on how well their specific filter will work when integrated into their home’s air handling or furnace system.
Did you know that a furnace filter will work to collect a variety of pollutants from the air including dust, dirt, pollen, allergens, bacteria, and a variety of other pollutants from the air of your home? The filtration of air in your home happens when air is brought back into the HVAC equipment to be thoroughly conditioned by the air (furnace) filter. The air is than forced through the filter and the material of the filter works to remove those different particulates and contaminants from the air. These furnace filters will help to ensure that your indoor air quality is optimal and that your pollutant levels are reduced in your home’s air.
How Does an Air Filter Work
When you place an air filter in your air handling system, they will all work the same way with the same process, no matter the type of air filter used in the furnace system. All air filters have a filter media that the indoor air is passed through from the forced air conditioning and this filter media is designed in a way to capture and remove a broad array of airborne pollutants from the air. The clean air that has been filtered will pass through the filter media’s fibers that create a tortuous passage for the airflow. The longer this air filter or furnace filter is used in the air handling system, the more particles will get trapped within the dust and fibers of the filter media, and this will begin the restriction of airflow.
What Does A Dirty Furnace Filter Look Like
It can be difficult to determine when exactly you furnace filter is dirty and needs replacing, since there is no indicator light or sign that emits when it’s time to change the filter. When it comes to making the decision yourself that it is time to replace your dirty furnace filter, the key signs to be on the look for will include the following;
- The filter will take on a noticeable gray color throughout the filter media, this will be caused by the accumulation of dirt and dust on the media of the furnace filter.
- If you feel that your home’s air has become “dirtier”. This can include evident dust debris on surfaces in the home or even the exacerbation of allergy and asthma symptoms.
- The furnace system or air handling system is taking a longer time that usual heating or cooling the home.
- Lastly, if you filter has been in the furnace system for longer than the manufacturer recommends – whether that be one month, three, months, six months, etc.
How Often to Change Furnace Filter
Similar to the signs of a dirty furnace filter, these can be the same for when it is time to change out your home’s furnace filter(s). The best rule of thumb is to change out your filters every three months if it is a 1 to 2-inch filter, every six months if it is a 4-inch filter, and every 12 months if it is a 5-inch filter. However, this standard cannot be followed in every situation and with every furnace filter type. It is ideal to follow the set timeframe designated by the manufacturer of the filter – as many filters will have a listed duration of use on their labeling when purchased.
Also, take into consideration that most often when you buy higher-quality filters you will get a longer lifespan out of the filter and thus it can play a role in the maintenance of your furnace system.
Types of Furnace Filters
As we discussed previously, when it comes to selecting a specific type of furnace filter for your home there are many different to choose from which can make is fairly difficult for the average consumer to pick from for their home. Although furnace filters and air filters all work in the same capacity, the effectiveness of these filters can range and have varying MERV level ratings assigned to them. There is no question, that most air filters that cost more will be more efficient in your furnace system at capturing airborne pollutants and even lasting longer within your air system. However, still there are people who opt for the less-expensive options due to its price point but do these types of furnace filters really work to filter the indoor air?
- Disposable Fiberglass Filters: These are the most commonly used furnace filters in home’s due to the ability to conveniently purchase them from any major store and their cheap price point. The filters are the ones that are framed in a cardboard material and typically have a lower MERV rating – as these are unable to collect pollutants at a high efficiency. In addition, these filters need to be replaced much more often than most other filters because airborne pollutants can collect on this filter material at a higher rate due to the material used on the filter media and the space on the media of the filter.
- Electrostatic Filters: Electrostatic filters are generally permanent filters that do not need to be replaced because of the fact that you can wash these filters. This type of filter works by creating positive charges that will cause dust and other pollutants to stick to the media, giving your indoor air a strong layer of protection from these pollutants in the air. However, these electrostatic filters range on the more expensive side than most other filters and this is seemingly because of its long usable life. Most people will clean these filters by washing them out with a hose and then allowing it to dry before placing it in the furnace.
- Carbon Filters: Activated carbon air filers can be used in your furnace system to not only help with pollutant mitigation but also with odor control in the indoor environment. Whether that be cooking, pet, or smoke odors that wander into your airspace, the carbon is designed to capture and retain these odors onto their treated filter media. The activated carbon is added to a pleated filter to give it the advanced ability to additionally capture pollutants while also retaining odors onto the filter media, and overtime if the filters are not changed it can begin re-releasing these odors and pollutants back into the environment. Generally, carbon filters tend to run more expensive and depending on your indoor environment you may be changing these filters out a lot more than you anticipated – which can leave you with a high replacement cost.
- HEPA Filters: HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters are one of the best filters that you can use in your home’s furnace system or air handling system. These filters are designed to capture and remove fine particulate matter from the air, as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. These filters can carry the MERV rating of 12, a super high rating for air filters. However, there are some problems with this superior filter, such as the potential for airflow to become restricted due to the thickness of the filter media. This can be bad and can potentially lead to you furnace breaking down due to the extra effort it takes to push air through the filter.
Best Air Filter for Home Furnace System
The OdorKlenz-Air for HVAC is a top-of-the-line furnace filter that utilizes proprietary technology to provide a broad spectrum of coverage for a variety of airborne contaminants found in an indoor environment like a home. Whether you want to reduce VOC concentrations, cooking smells, or whatever is causing that odor coming from your kid’s bedroom. The OdorKlenz-Air for HVAC works to eliminate pollutants, odors, corrosive gasses associated with indoor air quality problems without releasing chemicals, fragrances, or masking agents back into the environment. The proprietary OdorKlenz® earth mineral technology works to capture, contain, and neutralize a broad spectrum of noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the air while also offering the ability to capture particulate matter on a pleated filter media.
The OdorKlenz HVAC filter for furnaces are the superior choice for most homes as it can offer a broad spectrum of protection from pollutants, while also allowing airflow to pass easily through the filter media – with the added protection of completely eliminating chemicals and odors without a chance for them re-releasing back into the environment overtime. The cartridges install right into your air handling or furnace system and will begin treating the air instantly after installation. These filters come in a variety of sizes for all fits in your furnace system and best of all the filters last for up to 6 months in most environments!
HVAC Air Filter
✓ Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level
✓ No chemicals or masking agents
✓ Will not release any chemicals back into your environment
✓ Lasts for up to 6 months in air handling systems or furnaces