Your furnace filter is an integral part of your central heating system, but is not often thought about. A furnace filter blocks out dust and other debris from your furnace's air intake, ensuring that it can continue to operate effectively and efficiently. There are many different types of furnace filters available, each of which operates slightly differently from the others to perform the same function. Understanding the different types of furnace filters that are available for your furnace can choose the one that best fits your needs.
Disposable Fiberglass Filters
The most affordable option on the market, disposable fiberglass filters are not very effective at cleaning allergens or other contaminants from the air, but they are able to block out the worst pieces of dust and lint. These types of filters will need to be changed often to remain effective, but their low initial cost makes them ideal for those who are renting or are under a tight budget.
Disposable Pleated Filters
Disposable pleated filters are an affordable option but can provide a greater degree of filtration when compared to fiberglass filters. Their pleated surface increases their surface area, allowing them to produce less resistance while blocking out smaller contaminants like mites and mold spores. They will still need to be replaced fairly often, however.
High-Efficiency Pleated Filters
High efficiency pleated filters are designed to filter out almost everything that passes through them, and they are very good at their job. This is due to their extremely thick, layered construction, preventing all but the smallest particles from flowing it. However, there are two main downsides with high efficiency pleated filters: firstly, they are much more expensive than any other type of disposable filter on the market and will need to be replaced every year to ensure that they continue working properly. Secondly, their thickness can place increased strain on your furnace as it needs to expend more effort to get proper airflow through the system, which can drain its efficiency. You should contact an HVAC professional if you are considering installing a high-efficiency pleated filter.
Disposable Electrostatic Filters
Disposable electrostatic filters make use of an electric charge (think static cling) to attract particles in the air that is flowing through them. This makes them highly effective at blocking out dust and particles in the air, to a degree that fiberglass and pleated filters can't match. However, they have a much higher price point, which can rise significantly depending on the size of your furnace, which makes them the less than ideal choice for homeowners with a budget.
For more information, see companies like Dick Kearsley Service Center.