It's essential to routinely replace your air filters to maintain good air quality in your home and to protect your heating system. The variety of choices of air filters in large hardware stores can be overwhelming. Take this quiz and find the right air filter for your needs.
Your air filter is located where all the air from your home is pulled into your heating system.
Your air filter's main job is to trap air-born particles and keep them from damaging your heating system.
Clogged coils from airborne particles means that the coils cannot adequately heat the air that passes through, leading to a less efficient heating system.
New and improved air filters do far more than simply protect your heating system. These modern air filters also improve your home's air quality by filtering out smoke particles, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores and bacteria.
Lack of proper circulation results in poor air quality inside the home. Your home air quality can actually be two to five times worse than outdoor air quality.
Although air filters can be cut to size, most air filters come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. There are also many different types of air filters to choose from, so do your research beforehand.
The cheapest air filters are ones made from fiberglass, spun glass or polyester. These air filters simply keep air-born particles from entering your heating system by catching larger particles like lint or dust.
Pleated filters with a one or four each thickness will remove a variety of medium to fine air-born particles, such as pollen, mold, dust mites, smoke and dander.
Pleated air filters generally need to be replaced every three months. If, however, someone in your home is allergic or asthmatic or you have higher than average air-born particles, consider replacing your air filter more often.
An electrostatic filter will provide you with the best air quality. This type of filter has an electrostatic charge that attracts both large and microscopic particles.
Electrostatic filters are great for allergy sufferers, since they are the best at filtering out all particles and even odor.
A filter's MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value, should be marked on the side of the package. The MERV gives you an idea of the filter's effectiveness.
The American Lung Association recommends a MERV of 10 or more. The higher the MERV, the more particles a filter is able to catch.
A filter with a MERV rating of 6 only removes half of air-born particles. Consider purchasing a filter with a higher MERV rating if you desire better air quality.
Smoke is the smallest type of airborne particle, with particles as small as 0.3 microns. Keep in mind though, pollen and dust mites are also considered to be small airborne particles.
Fiberglass filters typically have a MERV rating of one, since they only catch large particles like lint.
A your filter gets dirty, it has a better ability to catch smaller particles. So, the MERV rating actually goes up. Keep in mind though, that as your filter gets dirty, your heating system begins to work less efficiently.
Although your should routinely change your air filter every three months, or according to manufacturer directions, a filter should be changed whenever it looks visibly dirty.
A dirty air filter is ashy-gray on the duct side of the filter.
If you suspect that your air filter is not functioning properly, make sure that it's not too small and that it's not installed upside down.