It’s easy for people to overlook the necessity of air conditioning filters and furnace filters. These filters help clean the air within your home and reduce the pollutants and allergens your family breathes in. If you want to purify one room, a HEPA air purifier will do the trick, but a furnace filter is good for home-wide purification.
Air Filter vs. Furnace Filter
There is no significant difference between a furnace filter and air conditioning filters. Instead, the question is where those filters are being put. Many boilers and furnaces aren’t equipped to handle filters because they’re not designed for air circulation. However, if you have a hot air heating system, you’ll have access to furnace filters that require regular changing.
Furnace Filter Advantages
A furnace filter will help your home’s overall air quality. When the filter is maintained properly, it can cut the accumulation of dust while lowering your energy bill. This reduction of dust will make cleaning much easier, since you won’t need to dust different home areas as often.
Furnace filters are ideal for allergy sufferers because they trap the majority of allergens in your home. A HEPA air purifier will only work on one room at a time, while this type of filtration system moves throughout your entire home.
Quick Comparison: Our Top 5 Furnace Filters
|Dimensions||Number in Pack||Weight|
|#1. Filtrete Allergen Defense|
Our Best Pick
|14 x 25 x 1 inches||4||4 pounds|
|#2. Filtrete MPR 2200|
|14 x 25 x 1 inches||6||9.6 ounces|
|#3. Filtrete MPR 2800|
|20 x 25 x 1 inches||2||2.2 pounds|
|#4. Nordic Pure|
|20 x 20 x 1 inches||12||8.98 pounds|
|#5. Filtrete MPR 1900|
|16 x 25 x 1 inches||6||10.4 ounces|
How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter
A great deal of air conditioner filters aren’t very effective at filtering air particles. This is because of their low MERV ratings. Many of these poorly functioning filters will be sold at hardware stores and home centers. They only trap tiny amounts of lint, mold, pet dander, pollen, and other allergy particles.
It’s even possible for cheap furnace filters to cause damage to your HVAC system by restricting the flow of air, which forces the system to overwork itself. Even if it doesn’t cause noticeable damage, this will run your energy bills up.
The most important thing to pay attention to is the MERV rating.
What Are MERV Ratings?
MERV stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value.” This rating system is used for air filters. The classification is similar to HEPA ratings, but this refers to air conditioner and furnace filters.
MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. 1 is the lowest, while 20 is the highest. Unlike a furnace filter, a HEPA filter is used in smaller devices such as vacuums and air purifiers. Their fine construction can’t handle the air volume that circulates through a cooling or heating system.
Every home filter is given a MERV rating. A higher rating means the filter can take out a larger amount of allergens.
When to Change Furnace Filters
The majority of manufacturers recommend changing a furnace filter about once every 3 months. Even permanent filters still require regular washing and checking. In places where the air quality is particularly poor, you might need to change your filter every 1 to 2 months.
Different Furnace Filter Types
Disposable Fiberglass Filter
These filters tend to be the cheapest option. They also tend to have the lowest market MERV ratings, and they won’t offer much allergy relief. If you’re thinking about skimping on quality so you don’t break the bank, don’t bother with these filters. They might as well not exist at all.
Disposable Allergy Filters
Because these filters are made specifically for allergy sufferers, they’re a much better choice for people on a budget. These types of filters come with a much more decent MERV rating, usually ranging from 6 to 10.
Disposable Pleated Filters
These types of filters offer better overall allergy relief through a larger MERV rating jump. They’re ideal for people looking for disposable solutions, rather than permanent ones.
Permanent Electrostatic Filters
These filters use natural air friction to create static charges. This technology allows the filter to attract particles and trap them. It’s the most costly type of filter, but also the most effective, with a capacity to catch 80 percent of problematic particles in your home.
Electrostatic filters don’t use the same mechanism that electronic air cleaners do. Electric cleaners aren’t ideal due to the ozone they produce. Permanent furnace filters often have MERV ratings of 15 or higher.
Other Ways to Rid Your Home of Allergens
It’s important to note that a furnace filter isn’t the end-all be-all of air filtration. While it will help with your home’s general air purity levels, it won’t filter out every allergen. Cat allergens will often slip through the filter, as these proteins tend to be small and stay airborne for long periods of time. The filter will also probably not do anything for dust mites.
If you’re suffering from allergies, your furnace filter should be just one piece of your home cleaning regimen. You should also do the following:
Limit Pet Areas
Even if you don’t think you’re allergic to your pet, you might be more sensitive to pet allergen proteins during allergy season. One helpful thing you can do is limit the places your pet is allowed to be. Keep dogs outside if possible, and keep cats out of your bedroom. If you can, you should also keep your pets out of your living area.
Deep Clean the Carpet and Furniture
Your first step should be doing a thorough vacuuming of your carpets, upholstery, and area rugs. Allergens can easily become trapped deep within the carpet fibers, though, and you’ll have trouble getting them up with a vacuum.
A carpet shampoo might help you here. There are some potential drawbacks of carpet shampooing for allergy sufferers, though. Damp carpets can lead to bacteria and mold growth.
You might want to invest in deep cleaning carpet powder, which scrubs away the dirt without dampening your carpet.
Sweep and Mop
On your hard surfaces, do a thorough sweeping to get rid of allergens. Then go over the area with a mop. This will help get rid of dust, dirt, and general debris.
Go over your furniture, windowsills, shades, and fan blades with a duster. If you have any hard-to-reach places you’ve been neglecting, take care of them. Allergens thrive in dust.
Get a HEPA Air Filter
HEPA air filters can filter the air in your bedroom or living room. They’re certified as capable of removing at least 99.7 percent of particles from the air. A HEPA air filter will get the allergy particles that your furnace filter misses. You’ll notice yourself breathing easier and sniffling less within mere minutes.
This 6-pack of filters comes with high performance electrostatic technology. The filters work to proactively capture microscopic particles as they attract them, including candle soot, allergens, bacteria, viruses, pollution, and exhaust particles.
The filter’s design includes 3-in-1 technology that helps pull unwanted air particles in and trap them while the clean air continues to flow through. When compared to non-electrostatic filters, these filters perform 5 times better with regards to small particle capture. These filters also outperform fiberglass and washable filters.
This 2-pack of filters is designed to capture microscopic particles. The 3-in-1 technology helps pull in and trap unwanted pollutants while clean air continues flowing.
The filter is designed to capture microparticles like dust, pollen, lint, bacteria, viruses, smoke, soot, exhaust, and air pollution. When compared to non-electrostatic fibers, these filters performed 7 times better.
Each filter will last for up to 3 months.
This pack of 12 air filters is designed for use with both residential and commercial properties. The electrostatic filter material is antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, making it an ideal choice for allergy sufferers.
The synthetic material doesn’t support growth of organic material like mold or bacteria. The high efficiency filtration system helps attract allergens and other particles in the air. It is able to collect more than 90 percent of particles in the air.
It’s recommended that the filter be changed every 1 to 3 months, varying depending on the air quality in your home. Less clean air quality will lead to filters being changed more often.
Another filter in the Filtrete Healthy Living filters line, this 6-pack comes with high performance technology that attracts and captures microscopic particles. The majority of allergens, pollution, bacteria, and viruses will all be caught by the filter. The 3-in-1 system helps maximize unwanted particle trapping.
When compared to non-electrostatic pleated filters, these filters performed 4 times better in capturing small particles. The filters also outperform washable and fiberglass 1-inch filters.
This 4-pack of filters helps to remove strong odors from smoke, mildew, cooking, and pets. The effects begin in just minutes.
When compared to other leading brands, these filters were 65 times better at odor reduction. The odor reduction filter combines electrostatically charged fibers with active carbon. This causes gases and odors to be trapped in the carbon’s pores.
These filters are designed with Filtrete’s 3-in-1 technology, allowing them to attract and trap unwanted particles in the air.
Furnace filtration systems are just one part of your air cleaning regimen. To get all of the allergens out of the air, you’ll need to clean your floors and invest in a HEPA room cleaner. However, furnace filtration can help filter out a good deal of allergens and maximize the energy efficiency of your home.
Make sure you understand what you’re buying. Electrostatic filters will give you the best results, but they’ll also be the most expensive. If you have very mild allergies and a budget that’s stretched thin, you might want to look into disposable allergy filters. Disposable pleated filters offer another step up for moderate allergies.
Don’t bother with a fiberglass filter, as these won’t give you the results you need and can even harm your HVAC system. Remember to pay attention to MERV ratings to understand the quality of a filter.
If you want an odor-fighting filter, the Filtrete Allergen Defense is the choice for you. If you’re looking for economic options, the 2-pack of Filtrete 2800 will work. The most in a pack would be the 12-pack of the Nordic Pure.