When thinking about home maintenance, your furnace filter is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But it may be time to rethink your home maintenance priorities. Furnace filters are an inexpensive and easy-to-replace item with an important purpose. Filters protect your blower fan and compressor from particles and debris that could damage your system and impact air quality in your home. There are numerous filter sizes, styles and designs to choose from, but with these tips, you’ll be able to quickly and easily pick the best filter for your unit:
Most furnace filters have their size printed on them, so you can check your existing filter for the correct measurements. If you aren’t able to find the size, check the owner’s manual or website. You can also measure the current filter being used as well as the width, height and depth of the furnace filter slot. Filters normally have two sets of measurements – the “Actual size,” which include the true dimensions of the filter, and the “Nominal size”, which is the actual size rounded up to the next whole number. For example, a filter with an actual size of 19.5” x 19.5” x .75” has a nominal size of 20” x 20” x 1”. Two filters might that have the same nominal size might not necessarily have the same actual size, making it important to check the size of your insert. Take your measurements with you to ensure you’re getting the one that will best fit the available space.
Filters have different benefits based on the material that they’re made of and will have a major impact on air quality in your home. Considerations for filter materials might include how long you plan on living in your home or apartment, as well as if you or any of your family members have any medical concerns like allergies or asthma. Here’s a rundown of filter materials and their capabilities.
Filters with a higher minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating will render better air quality, but they cost more to regularly replace. MERV was developed on a scale from 1 to 16 to determine the efficiency of air filters, meaning that the higher the MERV rating, the fewer dust particles and contaminants will pass through the filter. If anyone in your home has special health needs, the investment might be necessary. Consider pets, indoor pollutants and your budget when you’re picking the right filter for you and your family. Regardless of what you choose, make sure to change and clean your filter as recommended to remain as comfortable as possible and help your furnace do its job effectively.