What is the Best Furnace Filter?

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As you walk down the aisle with towering boxes of furnace filter to your left and right you wonder, what furnace filter is the best for my house? Pleated, Washable, Micro Allergen, Dust and Pollen Reduction, does it matter? Well, making the wrong choice could suffocate your system with disastrous results.

First, a little furnace filter education. The furnace filter industry rating system is called, minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). The MERV rating generally ranges from 1 to 16. Basically, the higher the rating, the thicker the furnace filter and more particles it can capture. Obviously a thinker one would be a better, right? Not so fast.

Thicker filters significantly restrict air flow once they become even somewhat clogged. This prevents your furnace from moving as much air as it was designed to do, which causes it to work harder and possibly malfunction. Also, consider a very important but often overlooked piece of this puzzle, the duct work. Unfortunately, most residential ductwork is not properly designed to handle those thick furnace filters. And what about the claims they can last for up to 3 or even 12 months?

Those recommendations are usually based upon perfect lab tests and not so much the real world. You have to really know your home environment. Do you have pets, are you a smoker, do you leave the windows open, and how dusty is your home normally? The answers to these questions not only help you determine a furnace filter but how often they need to be replaced.

Here is the bottom line. If you are unsure and want a basic filter that you don’t have to think about, then a standard 30-day generic pleated filter will do. But, If you are truly concerned about your home’s indoor air quality, have allergies, or other breathing issues, skip the fancy filters and have a professional Heating and Air Conditioning company come out to check your ductwork and provide you with options for Media or Electronic Filters.

Remember, choosing the wrong filter could suffocate your system with disastrous results such as heat exchangers cracking and compressors failing, resulting in repairs costings thousands of dollars or even a complete change out costing even more.

Voted Best HVAC Company in both Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina by readers of Suburban Living Magazine, Alexander Heating and Air Conditioning provides commercial and residential heating and air conditioning repair, service and new installation in Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and greater Wake County.

Open 7 Days a Week!
For Immediate Assistance Phone: (919) 886-4822

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About Author

Frank Alexander is an experienced engineering professional who holds a Master of Engineering degree from North Carolina State University and an MBA from the University of South Carolina.

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