Furnace Filters: The Basics


Furnaces are one of the larger line-item consumers of electricity in the average home. With that said, it’s vital that as a homeowner you are aware of two different factors relating to furnace filters.

The first is that you educate yourself about the different furnace filters available to choose from (based on your specific system) and the second is the importance of regularly changing your furnace filter to maximize the efficiency of your heating unit.

Luckily, the furnace pros at Supreme Service Today have put together this simple guide to break down all the furnace filter basics:

Choosing the Right Furnace Filter

Identifying and picking the right furnace filter can save you money because your unit will be operating at a more efficient level. Buying the right furnace filter will also improve the air quality in your house. Filters are rated according to their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV). This scale ranges from 1 (being the least efficient) to 20 — the most efficient filter money can buy. Below are the five most common types of furnace filters:

  • Disposable Fiberglass: This is your economy selection. It’s cheap, and does the bare minimum by keeping larger particles out of your system. It has a MERV rating of 2-3.
  • Disposable Pleated: One step up from disposable fiberglass, this option will stop some smaller debris, and is a tad more efficient than option #1. The MERV rating is a mediocre 6.
  • Disposable Electrostatic: This middle-tier choice is ideal for homes with pets or smokers. It comes in at the middle of the MERV scale at 10.
  • Permanent Electrostatic: This is very similar to a disposable electrostatic filter, but it can be cleaned and have a life expectancy of 6-8 years. The MERV rating is 8.
  • High-Efficiency Pleated: This is the top-of-the-line furnace filter. These solidly constructed models are the best that money can buy. You will pay more for this quality, but the efficiency rating is 14-16.

Change Your Filter!

Changing your filter (or cleaning it, if you have a reusable one) is a crucial part of maintaining the efficiency of your unit, prolonging your furnace’s life expectancy, and improving the quality of air in your home. Energy Star recommends changing your filter every month during the summer and winter, but never allowing more than 3 months to pass before switching the filter out throughout the year.

The two important aspects to keep in mind regarding your furnace filter are selecting the right model for your furnace, and ensuring that you regularly change/clean your filter to maximize efficiency, extend the life of your furnace, and keep the air quality in your home at a high level.

If you would like a helping hand deciding which filter best fits your needs, please feel free to contact us online or call us at (410) 846-6751 and one of our dedicated, professional technicians will be happy to help.