What Are the Basics of Furnace Filters?

Furnace Filter

Furnace filters. They’re one of those items not really on the top of everyone’s minds, but they are important and can have a big impact. At 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, we know with the right furnace filter, you can save money and improve your Howell indoor air quality (IAQ) in one fell swoop.

What Does a Filter Do?

The primary function of your furnace filter is simply to remove particles from the air moving through your ductwork. This particle clearance protects your furnace’s blower fan and air conditioner, as well as you (by preventing the recirculation of the contaminants into the air you breathe). 

The particles collect on the filter, which is why it’s so important to regularly change or clean it. If your filter is full, this dominoes into a host of problems––your furnace can no longer work at full capacity, damage to your furnace, and decreased indoor air quality. Obviously, each of these issues has its own ramifications as well.

What Types of Filters Are There?

When standing in the furnace filter aisle at your local New Jersey store, it is understandable to be overwhelmed. But breaking it down to basics, there are typically five different types of filters:

1. Disposable fiberglass

2. Disposable pleated

3. Disposable electrostatic

4. Permanent electrostatic

5. High-efficiency pleated 

When deciding which filter to purchase, consider its overall cost, its purpose for contingent factors like pets or allergies, its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating, its size, and your furnace’s manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Each filter type performs differently and has different costs involved—both short term and long term. Call our professionals at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning to discuss which of these would work best with your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. 

How Often Do You Replace a Furnace Filter?

There is no one answer to this question due to all the factors involved. When using cheaper disposable filters, they’re going to need replacing much more often, depending on if there are pets or a smoker in your home. 

Obviously the disposable filters need replacing throughout the year typically three to four times, whereas the permanent ones just need cleaning throughout the year and, depending on type, can last from one to eight years. 

A good rule of thumb is to check your filter monthly. If it’s looking clogged and dirty, replace or clean it. It’ll save your HVAC system, your bank account, and your lungs in the long run. According to US Department of Energy (DOE), replacing a dirty filter can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent annually.

Can You Recycle Filters?

Everyone knows recycling makes your global footprint smaller. That said, unfortunately you can’t put your used disposable filter in your recycle bin. 

Depending, your filter can be made from a combination of plastic, fiberglass, and wire mesh, although some are straight up one material. Furnace filters just aren’t candidates for your general recycling. 

Now home air filters can be recycled by specific companies, but this is usually a mailer-type situation. If you’re concerned about your global footprint, investigate using permanent filters instead of disposable ones.

Call 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning for All Your Furnace Filter Needs

Here in Howell, NJ, at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, we recognize how important the care of your HVAC system is. Call us today at 732-378-9189 or request service online with any questions or concerns you may have about your furnace or its filter.

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