How to Choose the Right Furnace FilterFurnace filters reduce dust particles, pet dander, allergens and other airborne particulates in your home. If a quality filter is used, this results in cleaner air and better furnace or A/C efficiency. Choosing the right furnace filter can protect your furnace from dirt and dust that will reduce efficiency. Filters are either disposable (the most common variety) or reusable. Filter models vary in fiber size, fiber density, fiber efficiency, airflow rate, and particle diameter. They’re usually rated on the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale.

Common Furnace Filter Types

  • Flat-panel filters – Panel filters are the most common type of furnace filter; your furnace likely came outfitted with one when it was installed. While a flat-panel fiberglass filter will protect your equipment from large dust particles, it will do next to nothing to clear your air. These are disposable, and should be checked once a month for possible replacement. They usually fall into the lowest MERV range, 1-4.
  • Pleated filters – Pleated filters can collect more airborne particulates because their folded design creates a greater surface area. Like flat-panel filters, pleated filters become less effective over time as they collect dust particles and air velocity is reduced. Pleated filters with a MERV rating of 8-12 do a good job of cleaning the air without unduly impeding airflow. In most cases, they can use the same filter slot as a flat-panel filter. They only cost a few more dollars and offer a big jump in quality.
  • HEPA filter – High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters do the best job of cleaning indoor air, but in most cases, will require serious system modifications to work with your furnace. They also are used in some stand-alone air-cleaning systems. They have the highest MERV rating, between 17 and 20.
  • Electronic filters – These filters ionize and attract particles to remove them from the air.

Over time, filters become blocked by dust and debris, and must be cleaned or disposed of to ensure proper airflow. Whatever filter you choose, it will need to be replaced or maintained on a regular basis to maintain furnace efficiency.

Please contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for more information about choosing the right furnace filter for your Indianapolis area home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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