No single parameter impacts heating performance and energy efficiency like adequate airflow and nothing reduces airflow like a dirty furnace filter. The system blower circulates the entire air volume of your house through the filter multiple times every day. Carried into the filter is an abundance of dust, dirt, lint and other airborne particulates. And that’s just the stuff you can actually see: invisible contaminants including mold spores, pollen and microorganisms can actually breed inside the filter media.
When system airflow declines due to a dirty filter, an array of consequences ranging from high operating costs to excessive wear and tear on the system and poor indoor air quality inevitably ensue. Take a preventive approach by installing a quality furnace filter and changing it monthly during heating season.
Cheap fiberglass panel filters often are effective only to protect moving parts like the blower from large dust particles. They provide almost no benefit to healthy air quality. Buy quality cotton or polyester pleated filters—purchased in multi-packs, they’re a good value. Filter efficiency is measured by the product’s minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) shown on the package. The higher the MERV rating, the more effectively the filter media removes airborne contaminants. Select a filter with a MERV rating of 6 to 8 to capture very small particulates. Lower MERV ratings don’t trap invisible particles like mold spores, while MERV ratings above 10 restrict system airflow excessively.
How to Change It
The filter is typically installed in a vertical slide-in slot at the bottom of the furnace where the return air duct enters the furnace cabinet. Switch the furnace to “off” at the thermostat. Slide out the old filter. Wipe away any accumulation of dust and dirt in the furnace frame with a soft rag. Slide in the new filter with the side with the printed arrow pointing in the direction of airflow. Switch the unit back to “on” at the thermostat.
If you need help changing the furnace filter or selecting a replacement filter, contact the experts at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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