Tips For Choosing Furnace Filter For Your Home

6 February 2015
 Categories: Home & Garden, Blog

The filter on your heating and cooling unit must be changed regularly to keep your furnace running properly and effectively. While your HVAC system may recommend a certain filter, how do you if you should go for the more expensive high-efficiency filters of the low-cost, disposable fiberglass? By learning about each type of filter, you can make a best decision for your needs. 

There are several things to consider when choosing a filter for your home furnace.

  • What are you trying to filter?
  • How much money do you plan to spend?
  • How often do you plan to change the filter?

Once you know the answer to these questions, consider the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, of the filter. This value is a rating scale that goes from 1 to 16. The higher the rating more debris the filter traps and keeps from circulating through your home. The MERV rating can also affect the air flow or your furnace. The lower the rating the more air the filter allows to flow through. 

Least-Expensive Option

The flat, fiberglass filters cost the least, but do the least amount of work. They have a MERV rating of 2. They filter out larger debris particles and allow for maximum air flow. If the air quality of your home is not an issue and you plant to change the filter once a month, this filter is for you. 

Moderately-Expensive Option

Pleated, disposable polyester filters to a moderate amount of work for a moderate price. They have a MERV rating of 7 to 8. They do a good job for the majority of households because they trap more and smaller particles than the flat fiberglass filters can. However, they can reduce air flow through your furnace and need to be changed often to avoid stifling the air flow through your furnace and making the blower motor work harder.

Expensive Options

The most expensive option is an electro-static, high-efficiency filter. They have a MERV rating of 11 or higher. High-efficiency filters are ideal if you or someone in your home has allergies or asthma. They trap more and larger particles of the dust, debris, pollen, pet dander and other allergens that can make these conditions worse.

If you've never used a high-efficiency filter, don't switch from a fiberglass to a high-efficiency without having your HVAC contractor taking a look at your furnace. You may need to have your fan speed boosted to accommodate this type filter and maintain good air flow. 

Whichever filter you choose, check it often to make sure it is not blocking air flow, which can cause problems with your blower motor. If you pull the filter out, and it looks dirty, or you can't see light through the filter, it's time to change it. If you have questions about filters and maybe switching types, contact a professional in furnace parts to answer your questions.

To learn more, contact a company like with any questions you have.