To shed some light on this topic, we're going to go over one of the most important factors you should take into account when choosing a furnace filter: air flow.
The purpose of an air filter is fairly simple: to block dirt, dust and other particles from getting into your furnace. When air enters your furnace to be heated and distributed throughout your home, it brings all kinds of airborne particles along with it. If you didn't have an air filter, all of those particles would build up in your furnace and result in premature breakdowns and cause it to run inefficiently.
Those same particles would also be redistributed into your home's air, which leads to poor indoor air quality and can aggravate symptoms of allergies and asthma.
Air filters and air flow
Although air filters are an essential part of your furnace, they can also hinder it from performing efficiently. That's because filters don't just block out large particles, they also stand in the way of your furnace's air flow.
What you're left with is a situation where the better a filter is at blocking particles, the worse it is for allowing efficient air flow, and vice versa. A cheap fiberglass filter, for example, is great for air flow but bad for particle control. A pleated filter, on the other hand, is better at blocking particles but worse for air flow.
The best thing you can do when choosing an air filter is to meet somewhere in the middle. You want to find a filter that will keep your unit running efficiently while also keeping your air clean and your family healthy.
Another option for homeowners
Another option that homeowners have for particle control is an air cleaner. Air cleaners use a technology that makes them great at removing particles from the air while also letting air flow much more freely than it does with a pleated filter, a topic that we'll save for a future blog post!
If you have any questions about choosing a furnace filter, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis area heating and cooling company.