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A Furnace Service Checklist Should Include Frequent Filter Changes

On the standard furnace service checklist, one of the easiest and most useful things a homeowner can do is to make sure that furnace filters are changed in a timely way.

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This will help to:

  • Maintain a clean and easily breathable airflow in the house

  • Promote better comfort for residents

  • Save on heating costs by allowing the furnace to function optimally

  • Prevent undue stress on the furnace blower and other furnace parts, which the filter protects from fouling

Adjust Your Furnace Service Checklist to Accommodate Local Conditions

Your furnace manufacturer will usually recommend a standard timeframe for this, but remember, the person who set that standard is not living in your house and was not privy to all the information you may have, such as:

  • Presence of extensive local construction work raising dust and particulates

  • Nearby agricultural activities lifting dust clouds

  • Similar activities on local dirt roads

  • Unusual weather patterns carrying dust and pollen

  • Local environmental pollutant sources from coal burning plants, manufacturing companies, fine particulate exhaust from sawmills or woodworking companies

The standard fiberglass versions of furnace filters require a visual inspection. If you can’t see light through it, it is clogged and should be replaced. Areas adjacent to and containing furnace filters should be vacuumed out thoroughly. This helps to prevent the premature clogging of any newly installed filter.

Service Checklist Should Allow for Your Type of Furnace Filters

The original furnace service checklist recommendations by the manufacturer, and those usually published by heating and cooling services will assume you have the recommended standard filter. You will have to adjust accordingly and also learn how to recognize the signs of clogging for your specific filter.

Some Alternative Types of Furnace Filters

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Your normal filter is probably the ubiquitous disposable fiberglass version. While inexpensive, it ranks fairly low on the list. It keeps dirt and particles out of the furnace, but does little for pollen and mold. Here are other options listed in ascending order of performance:

  • Cleanable Filters: The filtering depends on a static charge to attract particulates, pollen and allergens. As the name suggests, these filters can be washed and reused.

  • Allergy Filters: The entire surface catches organic and inorganic particles. It is pleated, similar to those of automobiles, to offer more area to catch and filter.

  • Medium Efficiency Filters: Various forms of these are available and are considered nearly as good as a HEPA as far as handling allergic and sensitivity reactions.

  • HEPA Filters: While some are evaluated as much as 99% efficient in filtering, the additional blockage in airflow can cause undue stress on the furnace blower and working parts, and on the filter itself. They may even prevent air from circulating through your ducting system. Special blowers, furnaces, or by-pass systems may be necessary for adequate support to these filters.

Some versions of furnace filters offer two or three-stage filtering. In all cases, always consult manufacturer data for the recommended change-out schedule and adjust your personal furnace service checklist according to your specific circumstances.

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