Understanding The Role Furnace Filters Play In Your Home

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As a homeowner, you may not be familiar with the intricate workings of your furnace, but it does pay to have a basic knowledge about certain important components including the furnace filter. Understanding the role your furnace filter plays in your home heating can help save you money on repairs, heating costs and improve your indoor air quality.

What is the purpose of a filter? Without a filter in your furnace, airborne particles such as dirt, dust and dander will settle on sensitive components of your heating equipment, and eventually circulate in your home's air. This can damage equipment and reduce furnace efficiency. The same negative effects occur if your filter is dirty or clogged. A dirty filter also will reduce airflow to your furnace, forcing it to work harder than necessary to heat your home.

Do I need to buy a furnace filter that is the same brand as my furnace? Typically the answer is no, but check the paperwork that came with your unit, or ask your reliable HVAC technician.

Which filter do I need for my particular model? This information can be found by:

  • Checking the paperwork that came with your furnace
  • Asking your HVAC contractor
  • Looking on the manufacturer’s website
  • Asking a filter salesperson

What is a MERV rating? MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rates the effectiveness of a filter in capturing the smallest particles. A higher number means the filter will capture smaller particles (and anything larger). For most residential heating systems, a filter rated between MERV 8 and 12 offer a good balance between maintaining air quality and airflow.

How often do I need to replace the filter? There is no hard-and-fast rule around this question but here are some variables to consider:

  • The number of pets in your home
  • The type of filter you’re using
  • The manufacturer’s recommendation
  • Whether a member of your household suffers from allergies
  • How often your furnace is operating this winter

Check your filter once a month, though a pleated filter may last anywhere from three months to one year.

For more information regarding your furnace filter, call the experts at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning. Since 1963, we’ve been providing quality service to the residents of the Fort Wayne area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnace filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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