Your Furnace Filter Should Boost Your IAQ
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Your Furnace Filter Should Boost Your IAQ


Improving your home comfort and energy efficiency doesn’t always require a grand gesture or big investment. Simply maintaining and replacing your furnace filter can both prevent indoor air quality problems and save money. Although you can check the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) for efficiency rates, choosing a filter can be daunting. Here are the common varieties for your consideration.

Basic Filters

Panel filters, or disposable fiberglass ones, are installed in most heating and cooling systems. They are composed of an inch of thick-spun fiberglass, are generally disposable, and block larger particles, with lower MERV ratings and costs.

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters are the most popular and are made 4 to 5 inches of polyester, cotton, or green materials. They are pleated or folded filters with greater surface area and efficiency.

  • The disposable pleated filter provides greater filtering at a relatively inexpensive price but should be changed frequently to ensure adequate airflow.
  • The high-efficiency version adds a rigid metal grid to increase efficiency and MERV, albeit at a higher cost and requiring a special housing. They may be ideal for sensitive household members.

Electrostatic Filters

These are made of self-charging cotton or paper fibers that pull in dust and other particles, trapping them. They must be changed or cleaned regularly to ensure efficiency.

  • The disposable version has a relatively higher MERV, is fairly inexpensive, and works well for homes with pets or children, but can be more expensive for non-standard sizes and due to repeated replacements.
  • Permanent electrostatic filters are a bit more expensive but are more effective than basic, pleated ones and can be machine washed and reused for 6 to 8 years.

HEPA Filters

Check with an HVAC professional before choosing high efficiency particulate air filters, as they require a separate system to block sub-micron particles. They rely on a core filter folded over very fine separators through which air flows.

Remember that filter efficiency decreases as particles build up, so change or clean them regularly. For more expert advice on your Portland area home’s furnace filter and general comfort needs, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today.

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