Improving your indoor air quality

It’s not often that people think of their furnace filters, but they should. Furnace air filters serve a couple of main purposes. When your furnace blower is moving air around your home furnace filters can clean your indoor air of dust and allergens while simultaneously maintaining your HVAC system by keeping the mechanical components clean.

Changing your filters is easy to do and an effective way to maintain optimal furnace efficiency. If you have central air conditioning attached to your forced air system, furnace air filters are working for you during your cooling needs.

How often should I change my furnace filter?

Examining your filters at regular intervals is very important. Make it a point to check your filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict air flow through the furnace blower system causing it over work. Dirty filters can increase energy costs. Many people only think of changing their furnace filter in the winter months, but if you have central air conditioning operating during summer months, the filter needs to be looked at during those months as well.

You may need to change your filters more often if you have:

  • high traffic
  • a larger family
  • pets or pet hair
  • excessive dust
  • recent renovations or construction
  • your home is in a dry, or windy environment

Write the installation date on the filter for reference. Also, you can write the filter size on the ductwork next to the filter location as a reminder. Choose a handy day to remember like the first of the month to check your filter.

Optional air filter gauges are available to install between the blower and the filter and are easy-to-use. They measure particulate on an easy-to-read and suggest that the filter may require changing. Although inexpensive, they should be installed by an experienced service technician.

Best furnace filters – What type of filter is best?

Most furnaces are initially installed with an inexpensive fiberglass filter. More expensive filters can improve the air quality in your house by removing pollen, bacteria and mold spores from the air.

Hugh Cairns furnace filter tip - Buy better filters, look at them monthly and plan to change them regularly. Good air quality matters to you, your family and your furnace.

The best furnace air filter is the one that matches your specific needs. Protecting your equipment is secondary to your health needs. Should you have specific allergies or health concerns, matching the filter to your needs should be your primary concern. You can improve the air quality in your home immediately just by changing or upgrading your air filter. The best type of air filter you need depends on the presence of airborne particles in your home and the sensitivity of your home’s occupants to those contaminants.

Fiberglass or Polyester

  • Inexpensive
  • Capture large particles


  • Longer service life
  • Capture large particles


  • Larger surface area filters more efficiently


  • Can be reusable
  • Treated to capture small and large particles

For more tips on improving your furnace efficiency, how to change your furnace filter and what size you should buy click here.

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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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