Traditionally, experts have recommended changing furnace filters at least once a month. Traditional filters are made from fiberglass. These filters are porous and built to block large particles that could cause damage to the furnace. They are not manufactured to block smaller particles that could irritate a person’s respiratory system.
Although experts recommend changing traditional filters monthly, fortunately, if consumers forget to change them every month, in most cases, the heating system will continue to function properly. The dirt trapped on the fiberglass fibers actually increases the filter’s ability to prevent small particles from entering the furnace.
High efficiency filters
Recently manufacturers have begun marketing high-efficiency filters. These filters are pleated in a zigzag pattern and they have built in electrostatic charges. According to laboratory tests, these filters remove up to 90 percent of pet dander and mold spores. Also, the electrostatic charge magnetizes micro-particles. Particles from viruses, bacteria, soot, and smoke position themselves in the lungs and cause respiratory and other health problems. Manufactures suggest changing high-efficiency filters every three to six months.
Unlike traditional filters, if high-efficiency filters are not changed, it may become costly. The filters become clogged and air flow is restricted. Once this occurs the furnace cannot properly circulate air. As a result, the blower has to work harder and run longer to heat the home. This may cause an increase in gas or electric bills. And eventually damage the furnace.
To prevent furnace damage and respiratory complications, consumers should change their filters according to the manufacturer’s specifications, regardless of the type of filter they have.