Selecting an Air Filter

Air FiltersChanging your air filters is an important part in maintaining your air conditioning and heating systems. Air filters collect the dust and dirt that would otherwise clog up the air handling unit of your system and lead to a breakdown. But leaving a clogged air filter in place can also put a strain on your system, making it work harder to move the air through your house. There was a time when choosing the proper air filter for your furnace or air conditioning return was simple. Now, there are any number of different types of filters available.

Types of Filters

  • Basic Fiberglass filters
  • Pleated filters
  • Allergy and small particle pleated filters
  • Washable filters

Choosing the right type

The majority of filters you find in the stores these days are the disposable pleated type and many of them are rated to remove very small particles. These filters can run up to $20 each and promise to remove allergens, smoke particles and even mold spores from your air. However, they also block a lot of air flow. The more the air flow is restricted to your air handler, the harder it has to work. So, these newer filters not only cost more to purchase, but they will likely cause a small increase in your energy use to heat or cool your home. Your ears may tip you off to air filters creating too much drag on your system. You may hear whistling noises or your system may be noisier than you’d expect.

Interestingly, more expensive furnace and air conditioning filters may not solve air quality problems in your home. A study by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation concluded that the quality of your air filter has only a small impact on air quality in your home. In fact, the research shows that for high-quality air filters to effectively change the air quality in your home, the air handler fan would have to be running all the time, something that most people wouldn’t want.

Since filter impact on air quality is small, our biggest concern when choosing an air filter is to pick something that will do the best job of protecting your heating and cooling equipment. Interestingly, the old-fashioned fiberglass filters do a perfectly fine job at keeping out the particles that could damage your air handling equipment and they are the least expensive. Since they are cheap, you can afford to change them monthly, our best recommendation for how often to change your filters. Replacing your air filters is one of several maintenance steps you should take to maintain your HVAC equipment.

Want to Put Maintenance on Auto-Pilot? Contact us about Service plans and air filter delivery.

If you are concerned about air quality issues, we have the equipment to monitor your air to find out if you do have a problem in your home. We also install whole-house air cleaning systems, which are much more effective than your furnace/air conditioning filter in removing allergens and other particles from the air in your home.