By Debbie Wuksinich, Comfort Consultant, All Comfort Services
Indoor air quality is really important to me. Today’s homes and buildings are more airtight and considered to be more polluted than the outside air. When I meet with a customer, I tell them about proper filtration. Here are a few recent customer questions with my answers:
Question: What’s important to know about furnace filters?
Answer: The most important thing is to change your filter on regular basis. Here’s why:
- Extends life of the unit
- Keeps energy cost down
- Maintains healthy air quality
- Keeps your heating/cooling system clean
I also recommend that they run their thermostat fan on “continuous”.
Question: Is the air filter the same as the furnace filter?
Answer: Yes. The furnace filter is usually located on the side of your furnace. Sometimes it is located inside the furnace so you have to take the furnace front panel off to get at it.
Question: How often should I change the air filter in my furnace?
Answer: How often you change your filter depends on the size of your filter and activity in your home. For example, pets shed and it puts more particles in the air. In general, the two most common types are the 1’’ filter and the 5’’ filter. The 1’’ filter should be changed every three months unless you have pets or lots of dust. Then, you should change the filter monthly. The 5” filter usually lasts a year. With pets, you should check the filter buildup after 6 months.
Question: What is the best MERV rating for furnace filters?
Answer: MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value which measures how efficiently the filter captures particles of specific sizes that pass through the filter. The lower the number, the less efficient it is. MERV ratings range from 1 (least efficient) to 16 (most efficient).
Question: What kind of filters are there?
Answer: There are a variety of filter sizes – the depth and pleat in the filter will determine what particle sizes are taken out as they pass through the filter. The size of particulates a filter captures is measured in MICRONS. The average size of the openings between pieces of the filter media is represented in microns. For example, a 20-micron filter has larger openings than a 5-micron filter. In other words, the 20-micron filter element will let larger particles pass through the filter than the 5-micron media would.
There are 1” and 5” media filters. The 1” filter will capture down to 3 microns. Depending on which 1” filter you buy it could be rated anywhere between MERV-1 and MERV-16, but it will only take out dust particulates that are 3 microns or larger. The 5” MERV-10 filter will capture down to 1 micron; and a 5” MERV-16 filter down to .3 microns.
The best filter system available is the Lennox PureAir System. Here’s why:
- It captures particles down to 0.3 microns (hospital-grade filtration)
- Removes 99.9% of all particles like pollen, dust, and pet dander
- Captures bioaerosols down to 0.01 microns
- Destroys odors
- Removes chemical vapors
The PureAir system will give you the best air quality compared to any other filter.
Question: What can I do with my commercial building to improve air quality?
Answer: Here’s my suggested list:
- Run your fan continually. You can turn this on from the thermostat control.
- Clean your air ducts
- Change filters on a regular basis
- Have your system inspected at least two times per year.
Question: What furnace filters do you recommend to customers?
Answer: Every person’s needs are different. We recommend having All Comfort’s consultant visit you in your home to evaluate your home and what filter you have and make recommendations from there.
About Debbie Wuksinich:
Debbie has been working for All Comfort Services for 15 years and has been in the HVAC industry for 23 years. She helps our residential and commercial customers find solutions related to heating, cooling, and indoor air quality issues. If you’d like more information, contact Debbie at 608-838-7300.