Changing the filter on your furnace is very important, because if you don't, your furnace may break down. When the filter is clogged, it severely limits airflow, and that keeps your furnace from working properly. When you go to buy a new filter, you may be surprised to see so many options and price ranges. The primary purpose of a filter is to protect your furnace from dirt and dust. All filters can do this as long as you change them regularly. The difference in filters is how well they filter the air you breathe. Here's how to decide which type of filter is best for you when you have allergies.
Fiberglass filters are the least expensive. They have fiberglass mesh stretched across flimsy frames. They don't provide a tight seal in your furnace, so they aren't the best at filtering the air. They also have fairly large pores, so they don't catch a lot of pollen or other allergens. However, they are effective at keeping dust and dirt out of your furnace. The catch is you have to remember to change the filter about once per month, or it will clog and become less efficient. This is a good filter if you don't want to spend much money, and when you're good at remembering to change the filter. However, they won't be much help for your allergies.
Pleated papers are made from cotton or paper. Because they are pleated, they have a much larger surface area than the fiberglass mesh filters. That means they are more forgiving if you forget to change the filter monthly. You may be able to go a couple of months without it affecting the performance of your furnace. Pleated filters are disposable or reusable. The reusable filters can be rinsed clean and used over and over. If you have allergies, a disposable filter is probably best, so you don't come in contact with allergens when you try to clean the filter. These filters are better at cleaning the air you breathe, so you may want to go with this style if you have allergies or pets in your house.
Electrostatic filters are good filters to buy when you want to keep the air in your home clean. They create a static charge, so tiny particles are attracted to the filters. This helps them trap pollen, allergens, smoke, pet dander, dust mites, and mold. They can even help pull odors out of the air, so your home smells better. These can be disposable or reusable filters. They have very sturdy frames, so they fit snugly against your furnace to prevent air leaks of unfiltered air. These are a good choice if you need help keeping your allergies under control, or if you have a smoker in your home.
High Efficiency Filters
High efficiency filters are the most expensive option. You probably wouldn't buy one of these unless you have a serious respiratory disease or immune disorder. Because they are so thick and sturdy, you may need to adapt your furnace so the filter fits. These are so efficient, they filter out bacteria and viruses. However, you'll have to run your furnace all the time to get the benefit of the air filtration. The filters might even reduce airflow so much, they put stress on your furnace. It's a good idea to talk to your HVAC contractor before you invest in a high efficiency filter.
If you have allergies, you've probably been told to make sure your air purifiers and vacuum cleaners have HEPA filters. While these are very effective at filtering small particles from the air, they are not suitable for use on a furnace because they block airflow too much. A pleated or electrostatic filter is a more suitable choice. Talk to experts like Moore & Russell Heating Ltd for more information.