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Furnaces Filters

If you have forced hot air heating or cooling, furnace filters protect your furnace's motor and fan from grit and contamination, and they also prevent unwanted dust and other airborne particles from continually circulating through your house. How much the filter traps and how small the types of floating elements it captures are determined by the filter. What are the choices?

  • Standard furnace filters are fiberglass meshes generally about an inch thick and remove the big stuff like hair, dust, and dirt. They cost no more than a few dollars apiece and need replacement less often than other filters because they trap less material and start with a higher air flow rate.
  • Pleated filters remove from a third up to 99% of all airborne particles including the ones like pollen and mold that trigger common allergies. Pleated filters increase the surface area that strains the air while decreasing the rate the air moves through it due to improved filtering. High efficiency filters have an electrostatic charge that pulls more from the air than regular pleated filters. Depending on the size of the particles they remove, these filters can be up to ten times the cost of a standard filter.
  • Electrostatic filters or electronic air cleaners, which pass the air between two electrically charged plates that pull contaminates toward them, take about 95% of all airborne particles out of the air. As a side effect of the electronic Cost varies from a few to several hundred charge on the plates, these filters produce small amounts of ozone, a mild irritant. dollars.
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters remove virtually everything from the air. These filters allow only very small particles (less than one-thousandth of an inch) to pass, but require their own fan and filter assembly at a significantly greater cost than any of the other options.

When choosing a filter, remember that air filters collect particles onto themselves
and so need to be cleaned or changed periodically. Be sure to compare the cost and effort of cleaning and changing when comparing prices.

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