Most of us do not know how a furnace works. We do not know how to clean it or to make small changes so that the furnace will work optimally. All that we are concerned is whether the furnace is keeping us warm. Only when it is not warming us properly we think of getting it serviced or repaired. Everyone can keep their furnace functioning optimally by just cleaning the furnace filter or if required by changing it. It can be easily done but you need to know which filter would be ideal for your furnace.
Before we start learning everything about furnace filters, let’s first understand how a furnace works. A furnace sucks in air through the return ducts and the sucked in air is passed over a heat exchanger, once the air is heated the blower blows the hot air through the air vents in the room. It keeps continuing the process till the temperature in the thermostat that you have set is achieved.
Now, let’s come to furnace filters. Furnace filters protect the furnace from the pet hair, dust and other micro particles from entering the furnace. The purpose of the furnace filter is to improve the air quality by removing the dust and other particles. For the furnace to function efficiently the furnace filter needs to be cleaned regularly and replaced every few months. But you cannot replace any furnace filter with any other; you need to know about MERV ratings.
So what are MERV ratings? MERV ratings or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is the ratings that is used to rate furnace filters. The ratings range from 1 to 16, with 16 being the rating that filters even the minute particles. Generally hospitals and health establishments use filters that have MERV ratings of 16. For a home it is generally believed that a MERV rating of 8-13 as the ideal rating.
There are many filter types too. The most common and the most bought is the disposable pleated filter. These filters are made of polyester and paper and are known to be good at keeping out dust and other particles. These filters however need to be changed every three months. Another type of filter is the disposable fibreglass filter. These are usually blue in colour and they are cheaper than the disposable pleated ones. However, the quality of the fibreglass filter is not as much as the disposable pleated ones and hence they need to be changed every month or so. Another type which is quite efficient is the permanent reusable filter also commonly referred to as washable filters. These filters can be cleaned with water and reused again and again. Ideally these filters need to be vacuumed or washed every couple of months.
The most important factor when replacing a furnace filter is to know the size of the filter. There are many sizes and they are usually referred to by their height, length and thickness such as furnace filter 16x25x1. You can check the furnace filter size in the existing filter and then get the right size that is required for your furnace.
April 25, 2018