Check Your Furnace Filter Lately?
|LEFT: When it's new RIGHT: Soon thereafter!|
I check a LOT of filters as a home inspector and it's become pretty obvious to me that it is a very low priority for almost everybody.
Every now and then, most homeowners peruse a Big Box Home Improvement store and see the aisle dedicated to filters, and the thought occurs to them that just maybe they should buy one of those things.
But you're not really sure of the size or type and so the thought just drifts away - like a Zen Master's thoughts of the world leave during meditation. On to see if the tulip bulbs are on sale...
I'm laying down the Challenge. Go to your basement and record the size of the filter. Then look at the filter that's in there. YUCK! I know. It's okay - we still love you even though your filter is dirty. But to get your Zen on, you need to get with the flow.
And I'm talking about Air Flow! Chances are, you've got a fancy-schmancy pleated type filter that is so clogged it looks like Oscar the Grouch's backside. When you bought it, it probably had a picture of Bob Villa or some other demi-god of home repair on it and you trusted it - after all it also had "High Efficiency" written all over it too.
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, the way you should treat your inside air is with a room HEPA unit. Your furnace filter is designed for the furnace's efficiency, not to cure your hay fever! The fancy-schmancy pleated ones are fine, just as long as you check them every month and change them when they are dirty and clogged. But when we turn our eyes inward and are truly honest with ourselves - we don't and won't do that! If we're good (and far better than most) we'll schlep down to the furnace every six months and check it.
So do yourself a favor and make a special trip to the Big Box store just for filters and buy yourself a dozen LOW EFFICIENCY (yes I said it) CHEAP (yes I said that too) furnace filters of the fiberglass type and change that sucker. You have the right size written on a scrap of paper or, if you're like me, you've got a picture on your iPhone of the right size.
|IMHO The Best Bet|
The fiberglass type filters are designed for your furnace. They stop the size particles that will damage your fan motor and clog the fins on your condensers. The fancy-schmancy pleated ones are really good - and if you can commit to checking and changing them often, probably the best way to go. But most of us have more pressing issues on our minds (for instance: is the DVR set to record 'Dancing With the Stars'?)
You want your Furnace to Breathe in Deeply and it will appreciate you for your caring. It will live longer and run more efficiently if the filter isn't clogged - and you'll save money from it not having to run as long and from not buying the fancy-schmancy pleated filters, so you can breathe easy!
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