Furnace Filters: Why Are They So Important?

Furnaces are easily the most important appliance in a home, as they have multiple functions, such as providing heating, cooling, and airflow throughout a household. In order to ensure that these functions are happening at peak performance, it is important that the furnace filters either cleaned or replaced on a consistent basis. Otherwise, you can, and will experience irregular functions, and premature breakdowns with your furnace and air conditioner. You see, the filter is to the furnace what our kidneys are to our bodies (although we don’t throw the kidneys away)! We’re going to briefly touch on 4 points as to why the furnace filter is so important, and here they are:

1. Furnace and Air Conditioner functionality
2. Health/Breathing
3. Energy Usage
4. Getting the best filter for your home

1) Furnace and Air Conditioner functionality

As long as you have a clean filter in the filter rack of your furnace, you are good to go. But have you ever actually wondered what would happen if you leave the filter unchanged and clogged while your appliances run continuously? Here’s a few things that could happen that may interest you:

• The dirt and filth would restrict airflow through the furnace, causing the furnace heat exchanger to overheat. This can cause unnecessary damage to the heat exchanger over time.
• Also, if the furnace gets hot enough, it will shut off, causing you to no longer receive heat throughout the house (not good news during the fall or winter)
• Believe it or not, a plugged filter will also affect your air conditioner performance as well. Airflow is key during the cooling season, and if your filter is restricted enough, it will cause your AC to not provide cooling (true story)

2) Health/Breathing

A filter is what traps dirt, pollen, pet dander, and more when the airflow cycles back to through the furnace. When they get dirty, they actually help you to see what you could potentially be breathing in. (Scary thought, I know!). This is important, especially if you have allergies, or a hard time breathing. Here are a couple tips on the filter to help improve health in the home:

• Change or wash the filter as frequent as necessary (obviously!). The frequency depends on the style of filter you have. (styles will be covered in the next TIPS posting).
• Lookout for the filter rating or MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) Rating. For residential homes, a good MERV rating for your filter to have is MERV 8. If you find that you or someone in the household has allergies, breathing issues, or sensitivity to particles in the air, it would be wise to get a filter with a MERV 11 rating.
• Just because the filter is cheap, and you are changing it very frequently, does not ensure that you are winning in the end. The lower the MERV rating, the less the filter traps, which can cause premature damage to your furnace and ac appliances. (Not a good call).

3) Energy Usage

With airflow restriction throughout an HVAC system, the system works harder than necessary. Once the unit is working harder, more energy will used. There’s no going around it. (A prime comparison is when we exercise). We should be aiming to use less energy, not more. More energy usage equals more bills to pay for you! Here is how a filter comes into play here:

• Having a clean filter will ensure maximum performance of your furnace. This will assist the furnace in achieving it’s peak efficiency, and in turn assist you in achieving cost savings on bills.
• This is also true when the air conditioner is on. If your filter is very dirty, you can risk increasing your energy consumption up to 15%. Once again, more energy usage means more costs monthly for you the customer
• Being direct, if your furnace filter is not changed on a regular basis, it will first cost you on the bills, and eventually will cost you on parts. Save yourself the headache, and change or clean your filter (depending on the filter style)

4) Getting the best filter for your home

In order to get the absolute best filter for your home, it is wise to determine the needs of each individuals. (We will go into more depth on this in the next TIPS posting). Here are some things to consider when purchasing your furnace filters:

• While there are numerous sites selling filters online, it may not be wise to make that your immediate option. You never know if you are going to get the correct sizing (customers seem to get incorrect sizing from time to time), and by the time you add in the shipping fees it may not be beneficial to you.
• Even going to the stores such as Walmart, Rona, Lowes, and Home Depot for furnace filters is something you have to pay close attention to. You want to make sure that you are buying the furnace filter with the correct MERV rating for you and your family, and that you are not just spending for the name on the packaging.
• The best way to ensure that you get the filter that suites your needs best is to acquire the services of an HVAC technician. This way you will be properly guided according to your specific needs, and will help increase the health in the home, all while saving on energy costs!

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to the filter at your home, give City’s Choice Comfort Air a call right away at 647-334-9324, or email us at info@cityschoice.ca

Next TIPS posting: Which Style Filter is best for YOU?