The type of filter that you choose to have installed in your home heating system could have a big impact on both air quality and efficiency. With this in mind, we thought it would prove useful to take a look at the main types available in Toronto and how they affect the performance of a domestic furnace. In addition to the different types that are available, you will also need to consider the MERV rating of any filters you install, i.e. the percentage of small particles that they will trap as the air flows through your furnace
Choosing a Furnace Installation Filter
Whether you are choosing a filter for a brand new installation or replacing an existing one, you will find that there are three main types commonly available.
1. Disposable Pleated Filters – Manufactured from paper and polyester, this type of filter is available in a wide range of sizes and MERV ratings. They are quite effective at removing ordinary household allergens and other airborne particles, and are relatively cheap too. Depending on the brand and particular model you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2-$40 for a disposable pleated filter. With this type of filter, you should plan on replacing them every 3 months and checking them for blockages on a monthly basis.
2. Disposable Fibreglass – This type are even cheaper than disposable quilted furnace installation filters and are, as you would expect, manufactured from fibreglass. In common with the pleated variety, they are available in a variety of sizes but because of the fine nature of the fibreglass from which they are made, they are only available in lower MERV ratings. If you are looking for the cheapest type of filter available in Toronto that will still remove the larger airborne particles in your home, they may be worth considering. However, you will need to check and replace them more frequently than other types.
3. Washable Filters – Made with aluminum or plastic frames, washable furnace installation filters are normally designed to be electrostatic too, which means they retain a static electrical charge that attracts and retains small particles in the air. The filter material is usually made from a combination of polyester and woven polypropylene, the latter having anti-microbial properties in addition to being electrostatic. As you can probably guess, washable filters are the most expensive type available but they are also the most durable, lasting up to 5 years when looked after carefully. If you go for this type, plan on removing and cleaning them about once every 3 months.
A Word About MERV Ratings
MERV – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value – ratings tell you how many small particles a filter will trap and range from 1-16 for commonly available domestic furnace installation filters. While you might think that the obvious thing to do is to fit a filter with a MERV rating of 16, in order to trap as many particles as possible, this is not necessarily a good idea. The higher the MERV rating of the filter you install, the harder your furnace will have to work. A MERV rating of around 11 is a good choice for most homes.
Below are a couple of FAQS about furnace filters:
• How Often Should I Change My Filter? – As noted above, this will depend on the type of filter that you install.
• What Happens if I Never Change My Filter? – If you never change your filter, it will become clogged and compromise the efficiency of your furnace.
For answers to any other questions about furnace installation filters, please feel free to call during business hours or email us at any time.