Maintaining your system, whether it is your HVAC system, or room type air cleaner or humidifier, routine maintenance is essential for your safety and to maintain top performance of your system.Here are some tips:
Time to Change Your Furnace Filter
A furnace filter is a removable filter that fits somewhere in the furnace unit between the location of air intake and the motor, fan, and heating coil. Originally meant to prevent clogging of the internal components of the furnace from dust and other airborne particles, the furnace filter has taken on more functions.
Modern furnace filters improve indoor air quality by trapping dust, pollen, smoke, lint, mold spores, animal dander, bacteria, smog and other indoor pollutants. They contribute to good health and well-being by cleaning the air circulating through the house as well as increase the life of the furnace. The furnace filter also keeps the heating or air conditioning system coils cleaner, which can save up to 15% on electricity bills.
Generally, furnace filters should be replaced every three months to maintain maximum efficiency. However some types of filters may require a change on a monthly basis, while others may only need to be washed and not changed. So it is important to check the type of filter one has and the manufacturer’s directions before deciding that it is time to replace the filter.
Other factors like increased usage during the winter and summer months, keeping open windows during pollen season, several pets in the household, dirty duct work, tobacco smoke, remodelling or woodwork in the house lead to faster saturation of the filter and they may need to be changed earlier than usual. A clogged filter not only produces poor air quality, it also produces greater strain on the blower motor which may produce higher maintenance costs. Therefore it is necessary to replace furnace filters on time.
Different Types of Filters and When They Need To Be Replaced
Disposable Fibreglass Filters
They are capable of protecting the internal components of the furnace from large dust or pollen particles which tend to block the heating and cooling coils. They are the least expensive of all filter types. However, they are also the least effective in filtering out smaller particles. So they are not suitable for those who suffer from mold or pollen allergies. Generally, these filters should be changed every 1 to 2 months. The effectiveness of fibreglass filters in removing sub-micron particles is up to 2%.
Washable/ Reusable Electrostatic Filters
These filters are of better quality than traditional disposable filters. They use an electrostatic charge to filter out dirt, dust and other particles. This has the benefit of having very little impact on air flow into the furnace. Some filters limit air flow, causing the furnace to overwork which reduces its efficiency. These filters are washable. This eliminates the need to spend money on new filters every month. These filters should be cleaned out once a month. These filters may last 3-5 years or less depending upon usage and other factors. Even electrostatic filters still do not filter out all necessary pollen, molds, dust or other allergens and are estimated to block around 15-20% of the particles in the air. The initial cost may be high but they result in considerable amount of savings in the long run.
Pleated Allergy Filters
These filters provide more filtering capacity than a simple electrostatic filter which uses flat sheets. These filters use several pleats to increase the total available surface area for catching dust, allergens and mold. The pleats are made with electro statically charged fibres that attract small particles. They are better at filtering out pollen, molds, dust or other allergens in the air than electrostatic filters or disposable fibreglass filters. They're estimated to be between 35-50% efficient. Usually pleated filters do not need replacement before 3 months. However, factors like increased usage, pollen season and household pets may call for early replacement.
‘High Efficiency Particulate Air’ (HEPA) Filters
These filters are the best of all the available filters. They capture an astounding 99.97% of the particles found in the air that passes through them. These filters are used in hospitals, manufacturing plants and research centres in order to maintain the highest quality air possible. However they are not recommended for home furnace use since they create too much air flow resistance. This means that the filter will have to work harder resulting in frequent breakdowns.
Thus ‘time to change a furnace filter’ depends on a number of factors, stated above. Industry standard for replacement of the furnace filter is once a month for maximum effectiveness. However, the specific environment and the frequency and amount of furnace usage dictate determine when to change the furnace filter. Changing filters are easy. Learn how to change your furnace filter.
Did you know - MICROBAN coated products are antimicrobial protected. This is especially important for room humidifier filters.
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