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Furnace Filter Tips

Feb 6, 2008
Most people are blissfully unaware of what it means to have an effective furnace filter or what a furnace filter even does. Here is a small handful of tips which should not only explain what furnace filters are and how they work, but also how to best maintain your furnace filter for improved air quality and safety.

- The dust in your home is more than dust. It is composed of pollen, mold spores, plant spores, lint, bacteria, pet dander, skin cells and many other contaminants. Dusting, vacuuming, smoking or cooking indoors, can actually increase particulate concentrations. Can you imagine how much dust is currently flying about around you, without you even knowing it? This is what makes having an effective furnace filter so important.

- Dust particles are measured in microns, and range drastically in size from microscopic, to relatively large. The tiniest dust particles make up more than 99% of the debris floating around in the air inside your home. You can be inhaling a large amount of these particles on a daily basis, as they often bypass your respiratory system's defense mechanisms with little trouble. Learn more about how to keep your furnace filter clean at http://www.creativehomemaking.com/cleaning/furnace-air-filters.shtml.

- Breathing these particles can create a number of health effects, including coughing, asthma attacks, wheezing, cancer, decreased lung function, heart attacks and even premature death. This is all in addition to a wide variety of different allergic reactions.

- The best way to limit the source of these dust particles it to eliminate them, and one great way to accomplish that involves installing high efficiency furnace filters and air conditioning filters. High efficiency filters, like HEPA filters for example, are excellent for capturing a large amount of these particles, keeping them from contaminating the air that you are breathing on a constant basis.

- Proper filtration is the best way to remove dust, dirt and mold particles from the air. There are a number of different types of furnace filters that you can use to accomplish this. Many furnace filters are disposable but there are also variations that are reusable or refillable in nature. Furnace filters also come in a variety of different materials, including natural fibers, manmade fibers, metal and fiberglass. Get more information about furnace filters at http://energyboomer.typepad.com/energyboomer/2007/07/a-clean-filter-.html.

- The purpose of a furnace filter is to protect air-handling equipment, meaning that it is important that they are maintained or replaced exactly how the manufacturer recommends. If you do not maintain or replace them as recommended by the manufacturer then they can become dangerous by restricting airflow and causing fires, carbon monoxide leaks, or worse. Maintenance truly is key when it comes to getting the most out of your furnace filter. When filters become loaded with particles, there is less air flow capacity which cuts down on the efficiency of the filter and causes the rest of the machinery to work extra hard to operate.

- Make sure to keep the manufacturer's instructions handy so you always know how to maintain and repair your furnace filter and other important furnace equipment. These instructions will also show you where the furnace filter is located and will indicate how often you should have your furnace inspected by a licensed contractor.

- Look for the highest available efficiency filter that will work with your furnace. The best way to do this is to choose a furnace filter with a high MERV rating. The MERV rating will be listed on the packaging. A MERV rating of 11 or higher is recommended for the healthiest air quality in your home.

- If you have a family member with asthma or other respiratory problems, you may want to replace or maintain your furnace filter even more often to keep the air clean. There is no harm in over-maintaining or replacing more often than necessary.
About the Author
Bill Whitworth writes about home health issues and frequently contributes to WEB Products, Inc. A leading Internet destination for information about home air quality. They offer a selection of high quality furnace filters and air conditioning filters.
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