Heating FAQ, Part 1: FiltersPosted: January 2, 2013
This is part one of our series on heat. We will ask an answer several commonly asked questions, and feel free to ask some in our comment section as well!
Does my furnace have a filter?
– That depends on what type of furnace you have….but in Georgia, it is safe to say you do. If you live in another area [mainly colder places], you may have a boiler/radiator…so check with your local HVAC company to see what you have.
How often do I need to change my furnace filter?
– There is no one answer to this question. It depends on the type of filter your system has, whether you have pets, if anyone in your home has allergies, etc. If you use disposable 1″ filters, once a month is a safe answer – but can vary up to three months in some circumstances. If you have a permanent, electrostatic filter, it needs to be cleaned roughly once a month to every three months as well. If you have a five or six inch filter, those can last from three to six months, depending on the above factors.
Filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to change, so there is really little reason to wait. If you don’t change or clean your filter often enough, the filter can get clogged with dust and other airborne particles, forcing your furnace to work harder to maintain air flow. This will reduce your furnace’s efficiency and can cause damage.
Why do furnace filters exist?
– Furnace manufacturers put fiberglass filters in their furnaces to remove airborne particles that might damage the fan and the heating coil. Particle buildup can also decrease the efficiency of your furnace, as the furnace has to work harder to pull air through the intake. More expensive filters can also improve the air quality in your house by removing pollen, bacteria and mold spores from the air. This is especially important if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies.
Do I have to use a filter that is manufactured by the same company that makes my furnace?
– You should be able to buy your filter anywhere that sells the appropriate size. Some of the thicker and odd size furnaces may need to be ordered from your HVAC company. If all else fails, always revert back to the documentation that came with your system just in case.