HVAC Filters 101: Their Purpose and How to Choose the Right One

February 11, 2014


You already know that the filter in your homes heating and cooling system needs to changed on a regular basis.  Learn how to choose the correct one.

dirty-furnace-filtersWhile you know that this helps prevent contaminants from entering your home through the duct work, the filters are also providing protection to the equipment. If you don’t know when the last time your filter was changed, call your local HVAC company. They will be happy to send out a technician who will not only show you where it is located, but can give you good advice on what type to buy and how often to replace it.

Why You Should Change the Filter Frequently

A gas furnace and air conditioner are reliant on many delicate moving parts in order to run efficiently. Heavy layers of dust will affect how they work and can even cause some of them to breakdown prematurely. Any particles that make it through the filter will eventually circulate back down to the unit and settle there. Changing the filter frequently to collect as many dust particles as possible will aid your heating and cooling systems in running more efficiently.

Damage Done by a Dirty Filter

A dirty filter also restricts air flow, causing the blower fans to overexert themselves in an effort to force the air through. If the problem persists, you will not only notice a decrease in the amount of treated air entering your home, your unit may overheat and break down. If the heat exchanger in your gas furnace is forced to heat up and cool down too often it will begin to warp and eventually crack. Not only can this lead to a carbon monoxide leak, it may even start a fire.

Changing a heating and cooling system filter is about the only part of the system a novice should handle themselves. Even then, they should ask an HVAC technician to show them how the first time. There are a few different options available that you can ask the technician about before making your first purchase.

Standard and Inexpensive Filters

The first one is the standard one inch disposable fiberglass. Designed only to collect larger particles, this is the cheapest choice and the one that requires changing once a month. A disposable pleated filter is a little more efficient than the fiberglass, using either polyester or cotton paper to remove particles from the air. They are still inexpensive but also need to be changed regularly.

A Home with Children and Pets

A home with children and pets should consider a electrostatic filter. The disposable variety is about double the price of a pleated filter, and can become costly when replaced frequently. The solution could be a permanent electrostatic filter which is removable and machine washable, allowing it to be used for years.

As you can see, the heating and cooling system filter is much more complex than you imagined. Talk with Scott-Lee Heating Company at (314) 200-0788 to help you figure out which choice is the best one for you and your family. Let’s not forget, the life of your gas furnace is also dependent on it.