User login

Forced air filters

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Mon, 04/22/2019 - 10:36

Clean up your act, or least your furnace filters.

Springtime has been slow arriving this year. In our part of the country, eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, there are still remnants of snow in shaded areas of woodlands and along the edges of parking lots where the snow was piled. But spring is here, things are starting to green and that brings the spring cleaning bug to many of us.

Furnace filters are not really a spring cleaning item per se, but over the long winter it is sometimes easy to forget that they have not been checked in a while. Many manufacturers recommend checking monthly and that certainly is not bad idea. What you may find though, is it that is not necessarily appropriate for your family and lifestyle. Homes with pets and smokers may find once a month is barely enough if at all. Homes with children, in and out of doors as they often are, may also need to check more frequently.

What we recommend to our clients is that they check monthly for at least the first six months they are in a new home. This should help them establish a baseline of what might be appropriate for their family, home and lifestyle. I would like to emphasize that filters need to be checked year-round not just in heating season. If your home is equipped with an air conditioning system you will find that nearly always it utilizes the same blower and filters as your heating system.

While there is several types of forced air filters available the most common by far is a simple pleated paper filter. The paper is a filtration device while the pleating increases the surface area that the air has to pass through it helping to reduce resistance to airflow.

Other types of filters are a fiberglass filter, which is not a terribly efficient filter, and reusable filters. The fiberglass filters porosity allows many smaller air contaminants to pass through on an unhindered. The reusable filters can offer good filtration but are sometimes difficult to clean and are quite expensive when replacement is required.

Less common are electrostatic air filtration systems. These are usually equipped with a removable cleanable filter and use static electricity to collect particulate matter in the air as it passes through. These can also be quite efficient but are very expensive to install and maintain. The expense may be warranted in the case where the occupants of the home have allergies or perhaps suffer from asthma.

At most places the purchase, filters are rated by the size and quantity of particles they remove from the air. This is called the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV. Although the range is from 1 to 16 for home use filters between 8 to 12 MERV provides adequate filtration. Filters higher than 12 MERV. Tend to clog much faster and require more frequent replacement.

Filters sold at Home Depot use a slightly different numbering system based on what they call filter performance rating or FPR. Adequate home forced air filtration within be between five and 8 FPR.

Filter replacement is not simply a matter of cleaning the air in your house. When designing a furnace certain assumptions are made and one of these is a minimum airflow through the furnace. If this minimum airflow is restricted the furnace itself can be damaged from overheating.

We, at Mid-America inspection services, always recommend annual or biannual, depending on your manufacturer’s recommendation, service by heating and cooling contractor. Furnaces are expensive you want to last as long as practical and you wanted to be operating as efficiently as practical to lower ongoing fuel costs. You can always call your home inspectors at Mid-America inspection Service with any questions you may have about your heating and cooling system.

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Mon, 04/22/2019 - 10:36