Furnace Filters 101: Choosing the Best Filter for Your Needs

Furnace filter options

If you own a home, choosing the best furnace filter for your lifestyle is important for the well-being of your family. The variety of furnace filters available can be overwhelming, making it crucial to understand which type aligns most effectively with your specific needs. Not all filters are created the same, and selecting the right one can significantly impact your home’s indoor air quality and overall comfort.

Aside from the filter fitting into your specific make and model of furnace, there are many other considerations you need to consider when choosing an air filter. You’ll want to find a reliable filter for your home if you have pets that shed a lot of fur. If you have asthma that is easily triggered, you’ll want to consider a different type of furnace filter.

Before you purchase the cheapest, most basic style of furnace filter, take the time to consider your home’s specific needs and find the best style for your home. In this furnace filter guide, we’ll highlight the various types of furnace filters and how they can help you with specific problems in your home.

What Do Furnace Filters Do?

Furnace filters are essential for upholding indoor air quality and ensuring the effectiveness of your heating system. Their primary purpose is to capture harmful airborne particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, and any other pollutants, and prevent their circulation through the HVAC system and into living areas.

This process contributes to purer air, creating a healthier and more pleasant indoor atmosphere. These filters shield your equipment from dust buildup, prolonging its lifespan and diminishing furnace maintenance requirements.

Beyond the basics, there are different types of furnace filters that can target specific home intruders depending on your home’s needs. Some filters are specifically designed to capture pet dander and smoke, while others are made to be machine washable so that you can reuse them for extended periods.

Where Is the Furnace Filter Located?

The location of your furnace filter is dependent on how your unit was installed. Take a look at your furnace and figure out its setup so you can efficiently locate the filter.

  • Horizontal Unit: If your furnace was installed horizontally, you can find your filter on the intake side, slid into a rack. The filter will likely be next to your unit’s blower.
  • Vertical Unit with Upward Airflow: In the case of a vertical unit with upward airflow, locate your filter in the bottom door where the blower is. To access the filter, open both doors for optimal airflow and filtration.
  • Vertical Unit with Downward Airflow: For a vertical unit with downward airflow, your filter is in the top door near the blower, potentially requiring two filters.

What Are the Best Furnace Filters for Your Home?

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for your air filters. Every home is different and has special considerations that need to be taken into account so you and your family can live comfortably. Therefore, while the best filters for a furnace may vary depending on your needs, it’s essential to note your home’s vulnerabilities so you can eliminate any threats from your air.

Disposable Fiberglass

Crafted from one-inch thick spun fiberglass, this filter is a budget-friendly option, ideal for individuals without allergies or asthma. Its primary function is to prevent larger particles, like lint, dust, and debris, from clogging your system. While it offers economical filtration, it may not be the optimal choice for those seeking advanced allergen control or enhanced air quality.

Disposable Pleated

One of the most popular options is a relatively inexpensive filter made of cotton or polyester paper. While it can effectively remove smaller, harder-to-target particles like spores and mites, to avoid clogging your system, you need to change the furnace filter frequently.

Disposable Electrostatic

This filter, designed with electrostatic cotton or paper fibers, stands out as one of the best furnace filters for homes with pets. Its efficient attraction and containment of small particles makes it an ideal choice for households with children, pets, or smokers. Despite being affordable in standard sizes, it’s crucial to consider that custom sizes may come at a higher cost.

Permanent Electrostatic

Using the same technology as its disposable counterpart, this option has a machine-washable filter that can be reused for up to eight years. Like its counterpart, it’s affordable in standard sizes but can be pricey if custom sizes are needed.

High-Efficiency Pleated

These are the top-tier furnace filters and are particularly beneficial to individuals with respiratory issues or autoimmune disorders. They are crafted with four to five-inch pleated synthetic cotton and securely attached to a metal grid to prevent leaks. Its exceptional filtration capabilities make it a staple in hospitals, effectively capturing even the smallest of particles.

While they are highly beneficial, these specialized filters cost around $100 per year. However, it’s worth noting that due to its thickness, it can only be installed in certain homes. Despite its higher price, the performance and health benefits it provides make it a valuable investment for those seeking superior air quality.

To ensure that your furnace runs efficiently and effectively removes harmful particles from the air, you need to change the furnace filters on a regular basis, specifically every two months or so. Dirty or clogged filters make your furnace work harder and, therefore, can increase your energy bills.

In today’s newer systems, a clogged filter can even cause the system to shut down completely. Changing your filters on a regular basis not only prolongs the life of your heating system and saves you money on energy bills, but also keeps you and your family healthy.

If you need tips for buying a new furnace or additional advice on furnace filter options, turn to our team at Home Comfort Experts. Tell us your furnace’s make and model, your home size, and other important information, and we’ll help you find the right solution.

We serve Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan. Contact us today to speak to our professional air quality specialists.

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