Clean Furnace Filters Deliver Better Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency!
It’s winter and most of us have already begun to feel the effects of poor indoor air quality: dry skin, dry sinuses, stale air, etc. The average person inhales about 32,000 pints of air in a single day. Every one of those pints contains billions and billions of tiny particles of dust, pollen, dirt, and other microscopic debris. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Yuck!
Spending lots of time inside during the cold winter months can really do a number on your respiratory system, but there is a way to significantly improve the quality of the air inside your home. It is simple, inexpensive, and really effective. So what is it? Clean or change your furnace air filter!
In order to create the healthiest indoor environment possible, you have to keep the air clean. The best way to accomplish this is to select a furnace air filter that meets the needs of you and your family. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, the furnace air filter is a frequently overlooked source of poor indoor air quality, especially during the winter when heating systems run almost constantly.
As air passes through your home’s heating system, the furnace air filter traps dust and other particles and prevents them from entering your home. After several months, most furnace filters become so dirty that they can no longer effectively remove these pollutants from the air. What’s more, a dirty furnace air filter prevents your heating system from working at its peak so you could see an increase in your utility bills. Cleaning or changing the furnace filter regularly will not only improve the air inside your home, but it will also help you save money.
There are many different kinds of furnace air filters available. The key to choosing the right furnace filter is to decide which best suits your needs and your particular system. Each type of furnace filter has a different efficiency rating, different strengths and weaknesses, and different features that make them desirable for certain customers.
Generally, furnace air filters fall into one of several categories:
- Electrostatic furnace filters: Use an electric charge to attract particles; are washable and reusable
- Media furnace filters: Most frequently used in commercial applications; trap particles in thick layers of disposable material and need to be changed less frequently than other types
- Pleated furnace filters: Most common type; large surface area traps particles before they reach system interior
- HEPA furnace filters: Capture 99.9% of particles; good for allergy sufferers or environments where good air quality is essential (i.e. hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, etc.)
- Activated carbon furnace filters: Good for removing unpleasant odors from air (ex. cigarette smoke, gases, chemical smells, cooking odors, etc.)
- Fiberglass furnace filters: Durable; sometimes coated with special adhesive to trap dust and dirt particles
Improving your indoor air quality is not the only reason to replace your furnace air filter. Dirty furnace filters are one of the primary causes of furnace breakdowns and high heating costs. The more dust and debris that accumulates on your furnace filter, the harder your furnace has to work. Your furnace air filter should be changed every three months to maintain optimum performance. Always be sure to select the right size and type of filter for your heating system. Your Horizon Services Heating Technician can advise you on the best furnace filter for your system.
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