Change Your Furnace Filter, and Keep ‘Climate Change’ Outside
If having a consistent ‘climate’ inside your home is important to you, remembering to change your furnace filter is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are some of the benefits of changing your furnace filter regularly:
- A more stable temperature in your home – a plugged filter will cause your house to feel colder because of reduced air velocity.
- Cleaner air inside the home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is five times more polluted than the air we breathe outside, and a clean filter removes more pollutants and allergens.
- Prolong the life of your furnace; a dirty filter causes the furnace blower to get hotter, causing stress on the fan motor and excess wear and tear on your furnace.
Want to know more about changing your furnace filter? Here are some commonly asked questions:
Q: How do I know when my filter needs changing?
A: The simplest way to ensure your filter is always clean is to change it regularly. However, if you’re not sure, here are some telltale signs that your filter is overdue for a change:
- More dust seems to be settling in your home lately
- You see dust around air vents
- A stale or dusty smell comes out whenever you turn the furnace on
- You feel that your nasal passages are blocked or you sneeze inside your home quite often
- Your heating system kicks in more often than usual
As a general rule of the thumb, it’s time to change the filter when you can’t see light through it.
Q: How can I remember to change my filter?
A: If remembering to change your furnace filter isn’t the most pressing thing on your priority list, look for a furnace filter whistle at your local home improvement store. This inexpensive gadget is attached to the filter and emits a high pitched sound when the filter is plugged.
Q: Where is the furnace filter located?
A: Every model is slightly different, but the filter is generally located near the air handler or blower. In older furnace models, the filter may be kept inside a panel. If in doubt, consult with your furnace manual, search for your furnace model online for information, or call a duct and furnace cleaning professional to tell you where the filter is located.
Q: What kind of filter is best?
A: Before heading to the store, note the size of your filter because you will need it to buy a replacement. If the dimensions are not printed on the old filter, measure the height, width and thickness and round off each figure to a whole number.
But aside from getting the correct size, you will find that you have a choice to make. This information might help:
- Fiberglass filters are expensive and with their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of less than 5, they can only trap large particles of dust and dirt. Fiberglass filters, in particular, must be changed frequently.
- Pleated filters, on the other hand, catch 99 percent more than fiberglass. In pleated filters, a MERV 8 filter traps particles such as dust mites, mold spores and hair spray, while filters with a 13–16 MERV rating catch bacteria, tobacco smoke and other fine particles.
- Electrostatic filters work by changing the static charge of the air, reducing the particles floating in the air and, in effect, reducing the incidence of allergens.
Q: How do I change the filter?
A: Changing the filter is fast and simple:
- Turn off the furnace before attempting to open it or touch any of the internal parts, in order to avoid electric shock.
- Remove the used furnace filter and install the new one, positioning the thicker, reinforced side of the material closest to the blower. Air flow arrows printed on some filters will guide you in the installation; just remember that these arrows should be positioned pointing towards the furnace.
- Once done with the filter change, close the access panel and note the date of your next filter change.
Changing your furnace filter once a month, particularly if you have pets in your home, will help to ensure your family’s good health and the efficiency of your furnace for many years to come. For assistance in changing your furnace filters or duct and furnace cleaning, call Ram Cleaning Services at 403-291-1051
Ram Cleaning Services, Complete Cleaning and Maintenance Care in Calgary and area since 1967.
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