The Quality Of Your Furnace Filter Matters: Here's How To Select One

by Greg Leisgang on December 10, 2012

Posted in: Indoor Air Quality

quality furnace filter, West Chester, OhioA furnace filter is essential to protect both your furnace and the condition of your home's air. Quality is important, as a good furnace filter can serve to preserve the life of your furnace and cut down on Cincinnati's allergy problems or illnesses within the home. 

To choose a high-quality filter, there are several factors to keep in mind:

  • Efficiency -- In furnace filter terms, "efficiency" refers to how well the filter removes pollutants from the air. A 90 percent efficiency rating, for instance, would mean that the filter removes 90 percent of all particles from the air with each pass. Efficiency is often reported by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), which rates standard furnace filter quality on a scale from 1 to 15.
  • Initial efficiency -- This is the efficiency a filter has when it's new. Oddly, filters are often less efficient when they are brand new. As dust particles are captured and plug some of the holes, they help block other particles from passing through, which improves efficiency. 
  • Sustained efficiency -- The efficiency level that a filter can sustain over time.
  • Dust-spot efficiency -- Refers specifically to how well the filter captures dust particles (as opposed to microbes, pollen or spores). 
  • Dust-holding capacity -- This is the amount of dust that a filter can hold and still be effective. If you choose a filter with a higher dust-holding capacity, it may last longer before it needs to be cleaned or replaced.
  • Resistance. All furnace filters create some level of air resistance. Usually, the more efficient an air filter is, the more air resistance it will create. Resistance can be a problem in HVAC systems, however, limiting the flow of air and reducing the furnace's efficiency. High resistance also forces the furnace to work longer and harder, adding to wear and tear on the system. You can still use filters with higher resistance, but only if the owner's manual or your HVAC expert approves its use, and your duct system is properly designed and sealed.

For help in selecting the perfect furnace filter for your Butler County or Greater Cincinnati home, contact the air-quality professionals at Tri-County Heating & Cooling. We would be happy to answer your questions.

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