Heating System Service Q&A: Maintaining & Shopping for Filters

[fa icon="calendar"] December 17, 2014 / by Home Services Expert

heating system service filter Q and AWhen our customers have questions, Experts In Your Home likes to step up with the answers. And at this time of year, many of these questions center on furnace filters.

Some questions are serious; others are somewhat humorous. But taken together, they form an interesting Q & A about maintaining and shopping for furnace filters:

  • What's the big fuss about furnace filters anyway? The “big fuss” is meant to avoid a big mess and a big expense. Furnace filters trap dust, dirt, mold and other indoor pollutants so that they don't settle on the working components of your furnace. Think of these substances as “enemy combatants” and the filter as your best line of defense to keep your furnace clean.
  • But dust is everywhere, and my furnace looks pretty sturdy by comparison, so isn't the dirt issue overstated? Not in the least. A dirty furnace motor has to work harder, which means that it consumes more energy and costs more money to run. Eventually, a dirty filter will impugn a home's air quality because the buildup will spew through the heat registers. Then everyone suffers, and especially young and older people and those who deal with asthma and allergies. In the worst cases, a filter that is thoroughly clogged can cause a furnace to turn off and stop producing heat.
  • So is it correct to assume that a clean filter actually helps my furnace? You're starting to get the picture. A clean filter will keep your furnace running reliably and economically, help prevent expensive heating system service repairs and extend your furnace's lifespan. You reap all of these benefits from a product that is relatively inexpensive and one that you can replace yourself, too.
  • All this sounds good, but I don't want to be tethered to my furnace, either. So how often should I check the filter? This is a good question – and the answer depends on how often you run the furnace, whether you have pets and if anyone in your home struggles with upper respiratory issues. So play it safe and check your filter once a month. You probably will have to replace it only once every three months during “high season,” though it's smart to always keep an extra filter on hand. If you're truly worried about remembering to check the filter, a heating system service company may be able to install an air filter change indicator on the side of the air handler to alert you – like an alarm clock – when it's time for a new filter.
  • I'm a little nervous about approaching my furnace. Is changing the filter difficult? Actually, it's quite simple. Turn off your furnace to ease your nervous knocks, and grab your owner's manual to find the filter compartment if you're uncertain where it's located. Slide the old filter out, hold it up to the light, and if you can't see through it, slide in a fresh but identically sized filter. Think of the process as similar to changing a coffee filter.
  • I've noticed dozens of furnace filters at the store, and they made my head swim. What's the story with the MERV rating? The abbreviation stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, which is used to rate filters. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter. Most disposable filters are rated from between 5 and 13, with the cost usually commensurate with their efficiency value.

If you have other questions about maintaining or shopping for a furnace filter, contact Experts In Your Home. We're a Chico area heating system service company that can help you keep your furnace working as it was designed to do.

The best way to make sure you're properly maintaining your heating system, is to dowload and follow the free checklist below!

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