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7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Your Next Furnace Filter

filter frustration

A high-efficiency furnace filter is one of the most important tools needed to create a healthy home; however, not all furnace filters are created equal. Here are seven questions to ask yourself before picking out your next AC filter.  

 

1. Do I live in an area with high air pollution? 

Where you live can impact the quality of the air you breathe. Homes located near busy cities, highways, and beaches tend to have poorer air quality than rural areas. You might think that the outdoor air quality doesn’t matter as much when you are tucked away inside; however, outdoor air pollutants can easily make their way inside your home and hurt your indoor air quality. If you are unsure about the air quality index (AQI) where you live, a great resource to check out is airnow.gov. This tool tells you when high levels of air pollution are predicted for the day. You can also check out the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report, which is an annual report that outlines the nation’s air quality. If you live in an area with higher air pollution concentrations, please consider upgrading to a high-efficiency air filter and keeping doors and windows closed when possible.

 

2. Do I have any airborne allergies?

If you are someone that sneezes just at the mere sight of dust and carries allergy medication at all times, you might want to take a look at your air filter. Although you may think most allergens exist outside, these same allergens can also affect the air quality inside your home. Luckily, many scientific studies have shown that air filtration reduces these airborne allergens and may provide some relief. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI), the experts recommend two types of air filtration that may help: a high-quality HEPA air purifier (which are best for single rooms) and high-efficiency air filters for your HVAC system in your home. Using these types of filters, in combination with indoor air quality best practices recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will keep you feeling healthy and provide the relief you need.

 

3. How often will I want to replace my air filter?

When selecting an air filter, choosing one that will fit in with your lifestyle is essential. This means finding a filter replacement schedule that you can stick to. If you don’t prefer to change your filter very often, you should select a filter you can replace every 90 days. If changing your filter more frequently doesn’t bother you, you can opt for a 30-60 day filter. If you fail to maintain your air filter, you will not only be hurting your air quality, but also your AC unit. A dirty air filter will cause the coils in your air conditioner to become contaminated, and this will cause your unit to break down more often. To avoid this, choose a filter with a maintenance schedule that works for you. 

dirty coils

4. How old is my air conditioning unit? Does it break down often?

If your AC unit is between 10-15 years old and constantly breaking down, you may want to consider purchasing a new one. If you are not ready to buy a new unit, you must be mindful of your air filter material type. Air filters that use a more dense, restrictive material will create more restriction to the AC system’s airflow. This will cause your AC unit to kick into overdrive and lead to more frequent breakdowns. To play it safe, opt for a less restrictive air filter type when working with an older AC unit. This way, you can preserve the lifespan of your unit for as long as possible and enjoy improved air quality simultaneously. 

 

5. Do I have proper ventilation in my home?

Particle pollution is found everywhere, including the indoor air within your home. Cooking, smoking, dusting, and vacuuming can all produce particle pollution. According to the EPA, “inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home.” You can remove or dilute indoor air pollutants contaminating your home by improving ventilation. For example, try using an exhaust fan to circulate the air when cooking on the stovetop. If you have poor ventilation in your home, having an efficient air filter is especially crucial. Choose an air filter that can handle various air pollutants, such as smoke, chemicals, and other airborne contaminants.

 

6. Do I tend to keep doors and windows open in my home?

Cracking open a window now and then might seem harmless; however, you may be allowing a slew of allergens right into your home. These allergens include pollen, smoke, animal dander, and many others. When you open your windows and doors, the smaller particles can penetrate your home easily and without detection. Because of this, the ACAAI recommends we keep windows and doors shut at home and in the car during allergy season. If you are really itching to open up a window, check out pollen.com to look at the daily pollen counts in your area. On top of keeping doors and windows closed, it is imperative to use a high-quality air filter and air purifier to capture the particles that eventually make their way into your home. 

 

7. How often do I dust/vacuum my home?

The frequency you clean your home is critical in determining the type of air filter you should select. When you are dusting and vacuuming, you are shifting thousands of dust particles around that were previously dormant. These dust particles then make their way into your air supply and may trigger allergic reactions in people with dust sensitivities. If you notice that your house collects dust faster than you can clean it up, you may benefit from a more efficient air filter. The ACAAI recommends using an air filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 in your home furnace or AC unit. A high-efficiency filter, combined with frequent vacuuming/dusting, will give you the best results.

 

Conclusion

A high-quality home air filter is crucial to keep your family and guests happy and healthy. Although choosing a new air filter may feel a bit overwhelming at first, it becomes much easier to determine what you need once you break it down. We hope that these questions help you better navigate this decision so that you are able to choose an air filter that is perfect for you and your loved ones.

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