One of the easiest things you can do to impact your heating efficiency and indoor air quality is to have the proper filter system installed and well maintained. There are a number of different materials and methods available to you for filtration. Be sure to check with your heating professional to get the right one for your furnace.
Filters are available in a large number of sizes and materials. The filter industry has adopted a standardized rating system to help consumers know the level of filtration offered. The MERU rating should be displayed on the filter packaging. Before you make a decision to change your furnace filter type you should consult a hvac specialist as higher MERU filters can reduce the amount of air that is able to pass through them. Less air passing through your furnace filter could negatively impact upon your furnace and it's performance.
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Furnace filter types:
Fiberglass particle filter - These inexpensive disposable filters stop large particles from entering the furnace and being sent through the ductwork into the house. They do not help filter particles that worsen allergies etc.
Passive electrostatic filter - These washable filters use a static charge to attract particles. They filter smaller particles than the fiberglass filter but are only able to block a minority of particles in the air.
Pleated filter - An increase in the surface area of the filter helps trap a larger particles by allowing a finer mesh pattern without interrupting air flow to the furnace.
Electronic filter - One of the most effective options that comes with a price. Electronic air filters are expensive costing several hundred dollars but they do trap as much as 80-90% of airborne particles. If you are concerned about allergies or illness this is a good choice for your home.
HEPA filter - Traps more air particles than any other filter but are typically only used in commercial buildings.