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Furnance Filter

Furnace Filter 

Furnace Filters Provide Health Benefits

Furnace filters are vital components of a heating and cooling system. Originally, they were meant to protect the furnace and fans but with the growing concern for air quality, many filters now give additional benefit which is to lessen the exposure of people to particles which can be harmful to their health.

Homeowners should not take their family’s health for granted when it comes to choosing the right heating and cooling system for their home. It is important to note that particles from various sources like dust, hair and skin flakes from people and pets and those from outdoors that come inside circulate in the home. These tiny particles are inhaled by people and those that are not exhaled get trapped in our lungs eventually giving us respiratory illnesses such as allergies and asthma. 

A research by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on the effect of filter usage in the homes showed that particles in the duct air can be greatly lowered with the use of an upgraded filter. However, this reduction according to the study will only moderately and not totally lessen indoor exposure to respirable particles. 

Different types of furnace filters

Furnace filters come in different types. The least costly is the disposable fiberglass filter but its disadvantage is that it only blocks the large dust and dirt particles and the smaller ones like pollen and mold. 

The washable “electrostatic” filter features a static charge that magnets dust, dirt and other particles but only about 15 to 20 percent of them. 

Another type is the pleated “allergy” filter that has a thicker mesh material to trap airborne particles. The pleats prevent large allergens from getting inside by about 35 to 50 percent. 

On the other hand, the electronic air cleaner utilizes electrodes to magnetize particles and collect them on the filter material. An ionized electrical field can greatly reduce pollen, mold and other small particles by up to 94 percent and airborne viruses by up to 80 percent. 

The High Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filter is considered the gold standard. This is commonly used in commercial applications such as in hospitals, research facilities and electronics manufacturing which give utmost importance to clean air. HEPA filters are not recommended for home use as apart from blocking air particles, they also block air flow. 

A filter’s ability to trap particles is measured by its minimum efficiency reporting value or MERV rating number. The number is taken from a test method formulated by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers to guide consumers in comparing filters. 

Tips for choosing furnace filters

A disposable or washable filter is ideal for homes of families who do not have any respiratory problem. It’s just important to keep the filter clean on a regular basis or change it when needed at least every month. 

For people with allergies, a pleated filter is the most cost-effective alternative for reducing allergens. Priced from $5 to $15, this type of filter can last for up to three months the most. A high efficiency pleated air filter is more expensive and costs from $250 to $450. 

As for the electronic air cleaners, they may be expensive but they are more effective in eliminating the harmful airborne particles which can save you a lot of medical costs. 

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