Factors That Influence the Energy Efficiency of a Furnace Filter

Although the winters in Garland, Texas, don’t get as cold as those in Minnesota or Michigan, there are still several months in the year when you may want to use your furnace to heat your home. You want your furnace and filter to operate during those months at peak condition. Several factors can impact the energy efficiency of your furnace filter.

Clean Filters Are Efficient Filters

It’s important that your furnace filters are kept clean for the health and energy efficiency of your furnace. With reusable filters, this is done by cleaning them. With regular filters, you should change them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

When a furnace filter gets dirty, its efficiency declines, leading to you paying more money to operate your heating system. If you have pets, live in an area with a lot of dust or pollution, or have a lot of people living in your household, you may need to change your filter more frequently to get the most out of it. Smoking and dust from the carpet can also impact your air quality and affect your furnace filter’s lifespan.

Filter Type and Energy Efficiency

Certain furnace filter materials are more efficient than others. Electrostatic and HEPA filters collect more dust than less expensive paneled filters, plus they’re more efficient. The efficiency level of a filter is reflected in the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) filter rating. A filter with a MERV rating of 7 to 13 is considered to be a medium-efficiency filter that will do an adequate job of getting particulates out of the air.

Filter Maintenance and Energy Efficiency

A factor to consider when evaluating the energy efficiency of a furnace filter is how easy long-term maintenance is. If your filter gets dirty quickly, your HVAC circulation fan will need to put forth a lot more effort to draw in clean air through the filter, thereby expending more energy. The longer your filter is dirty, the more your energy bills will increase. For this reason, the most energy-efficient filters are often easy to maintain, as they’ll save you time and increase the chances that you’ll keep your furnace filter clean.

A Better Understanding of MERV Rating and Filter Energy Efficiency

Furnace filters for a home setting have a MERV efficiency rating scale of between one and 16. In the professional or industrial setting, this rating is between one and 20. For example, hospitals need filters that can trap even the tiniest particles.

The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter prevents pollutants from contaminating your HVAC system. The MERV scale quantifies a filter’s ability to capture large particles between 0.3 and 10 µm (microns).

A filter with a MERV rating of between one and four has less than a 20% chance of preventing particles with a 3.0 to 10.0 µm size from passing through. However, a filter with a MERV rating of 16 has a 75% chance of capturing these identical size particles.

Most household furnaces operate efficiently with a filter with a MERV rating of 10. This doesn’t mean it’s always best for your house to have a filter with a very high MERV rating. If your filter has an exceptionally high MERV rating, it could block too much air and strain your furnace.

Some filters, especially those produced by 3M, may measure their efficiency rating in MPR. This is the microparticle performance rating, and it focuses on a filter’s ability to prevent particles from size 0.3 to 1.0 from passing through. If you have questions about the right filter for your furnace or how frequently you should be changing your filter, reach out to us at On Time Experts. Our technicians can review your HVAC system and provide some suggestions.

Are Electrostatic Filters Energy-Efficient?

You may wonder if an electric static filter is a suitable option for your home. Like other filter types, electrostatic filters remove particles and debris from the air, preventing your furnace from recirculating pet fur, dust, or dander. They also protect your furnace by preventing debris from reaching the heart of the unit, thereby reducing the risk of wear and tear, damage, and reduced efficiency.

Unlike disposable filters, electrostatic filters can be reused. Instead of throwing them away once they’re dirty, you can simply clean them and have them reinstalled.

Electrostatic filters provide improved filtration, allowing your HVAC system to run more efficiently. Some homeowners have found that electric static filters allow them to heat their houses more efficiently, reducing utility bills and energy usage. It’s important to note that while most electrostatic filters rate high on the MERV scale, HEPA filters do a better job of removing many particulates from the air.

Are HEPA Filters Energy-Efficient?

You can identify a HEPA filter by its thickly woven fiberglass. HEPA stands for Highly Efficient Particulate Air. These filters started being used in the 1940s to protect scientists working on the creation of the atomic bomb from harmful toxins.

HEPA filters work like a net that can trap small and large particles. When particles try to travel through the HEPA filter, they get bounced around and find themselves stuck in a maze of fiberglass fibers.

A HEPA filter can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles. Although HEPA filters don’t use the MERV scale, if they were placed on the scale, they would rank between a 17 and 20. They can filter microbial contaminants, including viruses and bacteria.

Although HEPA filters do a great job at filtrating air particles, using them could cause your energy bills to be higher. The filter is so efficient at filtering the air that your furnace must work harder to blow it through.

Some homeowners concerned about keeping a particular room in the house particle-free, such as the room of a child with allergies, will opt for a portable HEPA filter. This will use less energy than a whole-house filtration system while still purifying the air where it needs to be.

Professionals will likely need to handle installing a whole-home HEPA filtration system. HEPA filters are thick and don’t usually fit standard furnace setups. Talk to our highly trained specialists if you’re interested in learning more about HEPA filters. We’ll help you find the right air filter for your home and budget.

Take Advantage of Top-Rated HVAC and Plumbing Services

At On Time Experts, we’ve been doing whatever it takes to keep our Garland customers satisfied for the better part of four decades. We’re proud to employ NATE-certified technicians. We’ve worked hard to obtain and maintain our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Our firm has been endorsed by The Customer Team, and we’ve also been recognized by the EPA for the work that we do.

Our services include HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance. We also offer plumbing, pipe, slab leak, and garbage disposal repair. Whether you need a water heater installed, air quality testing performed, or a leak fixed, we have a team of professionals that stands ready to help. Contact On Time Experts today to learn more.

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