Your furnace filter may seem like an inconsequential part of your furnace, but it actually plays a significant role for your health and that of your heating and cooling systems. The filter traps airborne particles that would otherwise enter the blower, the air ducts, and eventually, be recirculated throughout your home, from which you breatheAs the dust builds on the filter, it reduces the amount of air flowing through the blower, which makes the whole system run longer and harder. It’ll take longer to heat your home, which drives up your heating bills. Over time, when too much dust accumulates inside the furnace blower, it slows down the exchange of heat with the incoming air. The metal heat exchanger stays hot too long, which sets the stage for cracks and premature failure
This is a serious situation because those cracks emit carbon monoxide into your home, a toxic, odorless, invisible gas. If an HVAC contractor or gas provider finds cracks, they will have to disable the furnace until it’s fixed or replaced. This situation is largely avoidable by keeping the furnace filter clean and having your heating system checked regularly. Checking it monthly when you get the electric bill or using another reminder will help you remember to change or clean the filter.
The filters you use also help you keep your indoor air clean, and if you have family members with asthma or allergies, the filter can make a big difference. Filters have a number of ratings, but the most common one you’ll see when selecting one is its MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating.
The MERV scale runs from 1 to 16 for residential air filters, and filters with higher MERV ratings trap smaller particles. The commonly available fiberglass filters have ratings as high as 4, but the pleated filters commonly seen in home centers and other retail stores have ratings as high as 8. The pleated filters can trap particles as small as mold spores, pollen and pet dander.
Before selecting a higher MERV-rated furnace filter, learn the maximum MERV rating you can use in your system by contacting Overland Park Heating & Cooling. Too dense a filter will reduce system airflow, making your equipment work harder to compensate. At Overland Park Heating and Cooling, we’re proud to have provided quality HVAC services for greater Kansas City since 1983.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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